Estella’s death leads to curfew requests

Some West Bay residents are seeking a curfew for the Barkers Beach National Park area in the wake of Estella Scott-Roberts’ death this past weekend.

At a meeting at Ristorante Pappagallo Tuesday evening, West Bay Action Committee member Henry Ormon asked that, effective immediately, the area go under curfew from dusk until dawn.

Police are investigating the killing of Mrs. Scott-Roberts, whose remains were found in a burned out vehicle in the Barker’s area Saturday morning. .

At the meeting, Police Superintendent Marlon Bodden said it had been confirmed that the body found inside the 2007 Ford Edge in Barkers was that of 33-year-old Estella Scott-Roberts.

No arrests in the case had been reported at press time. Cayman Crime Stoppers was offering a $1,000 reward for anyone offering information about the incident that leads to the arrest and conviction of those involved.

Mr. Ormon said that the Barkers area was often used by criminals.

‘We are, more or less, demanding a curfew be there by the authorities that be, until we can sort out this situation,’ he said, adding that there should be no need for anyone to go there at night.

‘That’s where all the criminals go from all over the island,’ he said.

Quoting the saying, ‘prevention is better than cure’, the West Bay Action Committee also asked that a special force of at least six officers and six police dogs patrol the district.

‘We want a ‘Stop, Search and Detain if necessary’ police force,’ Mr. Ormon said, noting that the RCIPS is short-handed and that double the force is needed.

‘Is there some reason we can’t have sufficient officers to man this district?’ he asked. ‘We need a proactive police service.’

Dogs would have a psychological impact on criminals, he said.

In a vote of hands at the end of the meeting the majority of attendees stated that they were in favour of a special force for the district.

Speaking to the Caymanian Compass following the meeting, West Bay Area Commander Chief Inspector Angelique Howell said: ‘I wouldn’t say we would put up a curfew per say, but we will monitor the area.’

Although Ms Howell noted the heinousness of the crime involved, she said the area is a national park. She said police would have to research the legalities of imposing a curfew in such an area, and whether it would be within police powers to do so.

The monitoring has already started, with Uniform Support Group officers and West Bay officers making checks throughout the night on Tuesday.

Ms Howell said a special K-9 unit for West Bay would be up to the police commissioner and the Governor to decide on.

Supt. Bodden said he has 33 police officers assigned to the murder case and that there is a very experienced team investigating.

But he emphasised the police need the help of the public to solve crimes.

‘You can bring 1,000 police officers, well trained, to investigate a crime. But if you don’t have information, which is the lifeblood of any investigation, you will not proceed,’ Mr. Bodden said.

‘There are many times that we know who did the crime, the evidence is the issue, and we need individuals to come forward and assist us along those lines,’ he said.

Community fear was a major issue expressed at the meeting.

‘This particular case is so heinous that it’s got the whole island in shock,’ West Bay MLA Capt. Eugene Ebanks said. ‘No woman wants to do anything unless she has a guard by her side.’

Asked what women can do to better protect themselves, Mr. Bodden said that awareness and alertness is key at all times. He advised against being distracted on the phone or parking beside a vehicle with tinted windows.

Mr. Bodden assured the wider community that there was nothing to get overwhelmingly anxious about, but that the public should not to underestimate what happened.

Capt. Eugene asked whether it would not have made more sense to bring a crime scene specialist into the island to do the forensics.

Mr. Bodden said the RCIPS has well trained crime scene investigators and the crime scene was thoroughly investigated. It’s a normal process to send samples overseas to be forensically examined, he added.

One attendee asked that there be a forensics lab set up in the Cayman Islands.

Mr. Bodden noted that there is a forensics lab in Cayman with limited capabilities.

Malachi Powery of the Canine Customs Unit suggested the use of blood hounds for such investigations.

‘Scent discrimination would assist in a lot of crime scenes,’ Mr. Powery said.

Some criticised the West Bay police saying there were multiple cases that had not been solved.

Ms Howell noted that people are often quick to criticise the police, yet people will not come forward to work with them.

‘It’s very disheartening to know that we have officers who give their lives up to work in the district and we’re not appreciated,’ she said.

She urged the community to volunteer their time with the police.

Caymanian Compass reporter Brent Fuller contributed to this story.