A post mortem on the remains of Sabrina Schirn this week revealed the George Town woman died from multiple sharp force and chopping type injuries with a bladed instrument, possibly a machete.
‘This was clearly an act of extreme violence which resulted in the tragic death of young Sabrina,’ Royal Cayman Islands Police Inspector Kim Evans said.
The autopsy performed by a forensic pathologist from the United States could not immediately pinpoint an exact time of death. Police were continuing their inquiries to establish a timeline in the case and appealed for any and all information the public could provide about Sabrina sightings between the morning of Wednesday, 11 March and Tuesday, 17 March when her body was discovered.
The 21-year-old Blockbuster Video employee was last seen leaving her place of work around 10am on 11 March. The last call she made on her Blackberry occurred about 30 minutes later.
Sabrina would have celebrated her 22nd birthday today.
‘I just want people to understand that she didn’t even get to reach 22,’ her brother Kevin said.
The white Honda Toreno she drove from the store was located in an East End field near the rock quarry late Monday afternoon, 16 March. Her remains were found about a mile away from where the car was located around 1.20pm on Tuesday, 17 March by family members and friends who were searching the area.
Blockbuster Video co-owner Deborah McTaggart had earlier reported to police that a man, whom she identified to officers, had come to the Grand Harbour video store at around lunchtime on either 5 or 6 March and threatened Sabrina. The man was seen holding a crowbar and according to Mrs. McTaggart, was behaving violently while in the store.
Mrs. McTaggart said she eventually ran the man off and reported the incident to police. She said Sabrina also went to the police station to report the incident.
However, it appears that no officers ever responded to the store the day of the incident and it was unclear whether any report was even made.
RCIPS officials told the Caymanian Compass they had a record of an incident occurring at the Grand Harbour Blockbuster store on 2 March.
‘Police did not respond to the location at the time as the alleged offender had already left the location when the report was made,’ an RCIPS statement read. ‘Instead, officers attended the alleged offender’s home address.’
‘This incident forms part of our current enquiries and no further comment can be made about it at this time,’ the statement continued.
However, Mrs. McTaggart confirmed that the threat incident could not have occurred on 2 March around lunchtime because neither she nor Sabrina was at the store. Her records indicate Sabrina wasn’t scheduled to work until 5pm that day, and that she would have been at the other Blockbuster store at West Shore Centre shopping plaza.
Police said they were checking into the discrepancy. They did not comment on whether the man involved in the incident had been arrested or questioned.
Questions about the initial police response to Sabrina’s disappearance persisted this week as well. Her family members stated to the Compass last week that they didn’t believe her case was taken seriously at first.
The Compass enquired into whether RCIPS had a policy regarding the handling of missing person cases. According to police Standing Orders, officers with the Criminal Investigation Department are required to investigate all reports of missing persons 24 hours after receiving the first report, or immediately if the missing person is younger than 16.
There is a draft ‘missing persons investigations’ policy that sets out the various levels of response police can make to missing person reports depending on how serious they consider the incident. According to information provided by Deputy Police Commissioner Anthony Ennis, Sabrina’s vanishing was handled as the most serious high risk response scenario.
A high risk response requires immediate deployment of police resources. A police supervisor must be notified and respond, and a member of the department’s Silver Command…police chief inspectors, generally…must be notified to ensure the investigation is appropriately staffed.
The missing persons draft policy has never been formally reviewed and approved by the RCIPS.