Death shocks Cayman

Cable and Wireless Corporate Communications Manager Estella Scott-Roberts is believed to be the person found inside a burned out sport utility vehicle in West Bay Saturday.

The human remains in the vehicle were so badly burned that police could not immediately make identification. However, Mrs. Scott-Roberts had not been in contact with anyone since late Friday night when she was seen leaving Deckers restaurant on West Bay Road. The charred Ford Edge that was found along a dyke road just past Villas Pappagallo belonged to Mrs. Scott-Roberts.

The apparent homicide involving a well-known and respected member of the Caymanian community left residents on Grand Cayman and the Sister Islands stunned.

About 50 people gathered at the George Town Police Station Saturday afternoon to await word from officers and to comfort Mrs. Scott-Roberts’ husband Rayle, who was closeted with police for most of the afternoon.

‘It’s been a devastating impact here in Cayman Brac; the brutal, the harsh way she’s gone,’ said District Commissioner Ernie Scott. Mrs. Scott-Roberts grew up in the Brac and was the daughter of Quellon and Corrine Scott.

‘I don’t know Cayman anymore,’ said Paulette Conolly-Bailey, who was one of the on-lookers outside the George Town Police Station.

Police had not reported any arrests in connection with the case at press time.

Mrs. Roberts is believed to have left Deckers around 11.30pm Friday where friends said they were throwing her a birthday party. She turned 33 on 8 October.

It’s not known what happened after she left the restaurant, but police said no one saw her driving out of the parking lot behind the business.

‘Somehow, Mrs. Scott-Roberts’ vehicle got from Deckers to the dykes (in West Bay),’ Royal Cayman Islands Police Chief Inspector Peter Kennett said. ‘It’s vital that we trace the last movements of her and her car and appeal for anyone who may have seen her vehicle prior to it being found (Saturday) morning to come forward.’

The vehicle was found by a Department of Environment officer who had seen Mrs. Scott-Roberts’ family members searching the dykes Saturday. Police said Cable and Wireless had traced her cell phone to the area, which led to the search.

DoE Enforcement Officer Mark Orr said the officer who found the car was a bit more familiar with the dyke roads than the other searchers and was able to locate the SUV on a dirt path near one of the inlets.

‘It definitely had been engulfed (in flames),’ Mr. Orr said of the Ford Edge. ‘It was about as bad as it could burn.’

A forensic pathologist from the US was flown into Cayman on Sunday and was expected to perform a post-mortem exam today on the remains found in the vehicle.

Mrs. Scott-Roberts was a well-recognised figure in the Caymanian community, most recently for her role as communications manager for Cable and Wireless.

She was also a key figure in the creation and development of the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre. She was considered a tireless advocate for the rights of women and sometimes even testified in court cases on behalf of the victims of domestic violence.

‘She helped a lot of people,’ said William Adam, another member of the community who attended the George Town Police Station Saturday.

District Commissioner Scott from the Brac said he first met Mrs. Scott-Roberts when she was a teenager at Cayman Brac High School and remembered being impressed with her debating skills, her intelligence and her public poise.

‘I knew from first meeting with her that it was so obvious, the level of potential this young lady had,’ Mr. Scott said. ‘I wasn’t surprised when she moved on to major corporate positions on Grand Cayman.’

Mrs. Scott-Roberts’ impact on the community was keenly felt at the gathering outside George Town Police Station Saturday where family, friends, colleagues and government leaders gathered to comfort each other and try to make sense of what happened.

Those gathered outside the station included Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts, Chief Secretary George McCarthy, Cabinet Secretary Orrett Connor and Bodden Town MLA Osbourne Bodden. Representatives from the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre and the Women’s Resource Centre were also on hand.