UWI professor killed

ST. ANDREW, Jamaica – The body of award- winning University of the West Indies lecturer, Mr. Peter Vogel was found early yesterday morning at his College Common residence in Mona, St. Andrew.

The 60-year-old zoology lecturer’s body was found bound and gagged on the floor of his study. There were no visible marks on the body, but police suspect that he was murdered.

According to head of the St. Andrew Central Criminal Investigative Branch, Deputy Superintendent McArthur Sutherland, the incident is being treated as a case of robbery.

Additional reports reaching The Gleaner are that Mr. Vogel was at home with his children and a person who works closely with the family while his wife was overseas.

It is believed that the children had retired to bed around 10pm. Mr. Vogel remained up in his study while the other individual reportedly watched television.

The Gleaner was told that Mr. Vogel’s 10-year-old daughter stumbled upon his body in his study around 4am and alerted close friends of the find.

Joseph Pereira, deputy principal at the UWI, told The Gleaner that from reports received from the police, there was no breach in security on the compound, which is part of the university campus.

“What the police have indicated is that the back grill door was opened, there were no signs of forced entry and that the helper’s things have been removed.

‘The helper has not turned up to work this morning (Thursday) and certainly not up to about 10 o’clock, there was no sign of the helper,” he told The Gleaner.

When pressed by The Gleaner as to whether the helper was being sought for questioning, the police refused to comment on the matter.

“The leads that we have so far, we don’t wish to speak to at this moment because we are doing some work to see if we can make any quick breakthrough in this matter and establish any underline factors that might have motivated this killing,” said DSP Sutherland.

Mr. Vogel’s Suzuki Vitara, a computer and a television set were stolen from his home.

Meanwhile, Mr. Pereira said the university community was in shock from the death and that the campus would be increasing security in light of the incident.

Mr. Dale Webber, head of the Department of Life Sciences at the UWI, where Mr. Vogel was a lecturer, said his tragic death will leave a void in the department.

Mr. Vogel who was Swiss born was the 2006 recipient of the Gleaner Honour Award for Science and Technology. A major area of his work involved the discovery of the Jamaican Iguana in the Hellshire Hills of St. Catherine.

He was also a recipient of the Institute of Jamaica’s special Silver Award for science in 2001.

Mr. Vogel initially arrived in Jamaica in 1979 for a year to obtain field data on Jamaica’s Anolis tree lizards for the University of Bochum, Germany, and he was based at the UWI. He subsequently completed his Ph.D. in animal behaviour and ecology from the University of Basel in Switzerland and then returned to Jamaica in 1985 for a two-year research project on the Anolis lizards.

His work came to the Jamaican public’s attention in 1990 when it was discovered that the Jamaican Iguana, previously thought to be extinct, was still alive in the Hellshire hills of south St. Catherine.

Mr. Vogel died leaving his Jamaican widow, Parlan and three children.

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