$125K reward offered
More than 2,000 people marched silently through George Town Saturday to pay tribute to Estella Scott-Roberts, a day after a US$125,000 reward was offered for information about her killing.
Cayman Crime Stoppers announced the award – which is being funded by businesses and administered by the Chamber of Commerce – after police again pleaded for anyone with information to come forward.
‘I don’t know who killed Estella,’ Chief Inspector Peter Kennett said during a press briefing last week.
Mourners also packed out the Lions Centre Friday night for a candle-light vigil in honour of the 33-year-old Cayman Brac native. A similar service was held on Cayman Brac Friday night.
Addressing Saturday’s Silent Witness march outside the Legislative Assembly, Health Minister Anthony Eden announced that a committee will be formed in the next 30 days to tackle the issue of domestic violence head on.
The committee, which is likely to be headed initially by Cayman Islands Crisis Centre Board Chair Len Layman, will be made up of members from groups that work with abused women and deal with victims of violence.
Mr. Eden also confirmed that the board of the Crisis Centre, a refuge for abused women and children, which Mrs. Scott-Roberts was instrumental in establishing, is considering renaming the centre after her.
Mrs. Scott-Roberts was killed 10 October after leaving a restaurant where she celebrated her birthday with friends. Her badly burned body was found in her vehicle along the dykes roads in West Bay. No one has been charged over her death.
On Thursday, police were able to fill in a few more details and dispel some rumours that have been circulating the island since Mrs. Scott-Roberts’ death.
Mr. Kennett said a preliminary autopsy of the remains indicated Mrs. Scott-Roberts had died before the fire started in her 2007 Ford Edge. He said it was the one small crumb of comfort he could offer to Mrs. Scott-Roberts’ mother Corrine and husband Rayle.
‘He’s extremely brave,’ Mr. Kennett said of Rayle Roberts.
Investigators have not determined how Mrs. Scott-Roberts was killed.
Police believe that ‘there was a very tight timeline’ between Mrs. Scott-Roberts’ departure from Deckers restaurant around 11.15pm-11.30pm Friday night to the time the car fire is believed to have started in Barkers just before midnight.
RCIPS Superintendent Marlon Bodden said the suspect or suspects involved ‘may have encountered a significant problem’ and urged those individuals to come forward so police could put the matter to rest.
Mr. Kennett also denied earlier stories making the rounds that Mrs. Scott-Roberts had received threats in the days before her death.
‘I have no evidence that she had any threats,’ he said.
Investigators described as ‘total nonsense’, rumours that a prison inmate who had a grudge against Estella was released from prison hours before she disappeared.
Mrs. Scott-Roberts’ previous position as director of the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre sometimes required her to testify in court on behalf of domestic violence victims.
Police could still not rule out the possibility that revenge motives may have played a role in Mrs. Scott-Roberts’ death, or that her disappearance and killing simply could have been a random act of violence.
At Saturday’s march, Mr. Layman gave an impassioned speech before the crowd – the biggest ever seen at a Silent Witness March in Cayman in the 11 years since it was first held.
‘As long as we have violence and abuse in our homes, we will never get rid of violence on our streets,’ Mr. Layman said.
‘The news of Estella’s death has shaken us both individually and as a community,’ he said, adding that she had touched and changed the lives of many people she met.
‘In tragic times such as this, it is very easy to be consumed with anger and fear – that is a normal human response,’ he said.
He urged people to put negative emotions aside and instead take positive steps to combat violence, by volunteering, mentoring, making donations and to use their talents to bring about an end to abuse.
‘This is a call to action. This is the fork in the road,’ he told the crowd.
Despite the large number of people, the streets of George Town were entirely silent from 12.30pm to 1pm as the crowd made its way from the Glass House to the Legislative Assembly Building.
Some carried banners and signs calling for peace and an end to violence, while others carried pictures of Mrs. Scott-Roberts. Others held aloft red silhouettes of women to mark the victims of domestic violence.
Rayle Roberts was among the silent marchers. Other family members and friends were in the crowd as well as representatives of political parties, schools and victim support groups.
Cindy Blekaitis, acting director of the Women’s Resource Centre, said Mrs. Scott-Roberts was one of those people who had given a voice to the silent victims of abuse.
‘She believed in this cause with her heart and her soul,’ she said.
‘Ultimately, we are now Estella’s voice.’
Cayman Crime Stoppers said Friday that anyone supplying information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case will be eligible for the US$125,000 reward.
Stuart Bostock, chairman of Cayman Crime Stoppers, explained that an initial reward of $1,000 had pertained to the maximum amount Crime Stoppers could pay out.
‘Cayman Crime Stoppers is affiliated with Crime Stoppers International which limits a reward to a maximum sum of $1,000, the reason for which should be obvious.
‘We do however have the ability to partner with organisations that come forward to offer additional rewards, what we refer to as an external reward,’ he said.
Anyone with information should call Cayman Crime Stoppers’ tips line on 800 TIPS (8477) or visit the website www.crimestoppers.ky, under the ‘Report a crime’ link. With calls answered at a canter in Miami, Cayman Crime Stoppers guarantees absolute anonymity to anyone providing information.
Members of the public can also speak directly with senior detectives working on the case by calling the following numbers:
Detective Inspector Kim Evans – 926-1773; Detective Constable Wade Chase – 925-7240; Detective Constable Charmane Dalhouse 926-3975; Detective Constable Karl Lovell – 925-676.