The shock and trauma of his son Justin Manderson’s murder back in 2016 continues to haunt West Bay father Jake Manderson.

“That was the worst day of my life… he was a sweet kid,” Manderson sobbed as he recounted the moments after doctors informed him that his son had passed.

Since then, Manderson has continued to grieve.

“Pretty much every day, at least once a day, if not every day, every other day… sometimes two times a day, I go down by the grave and I sit down there and talk to him and tell him daddy trying to get justice for him. Sometimes I go pick his kid up and take his kid there and make sure he gets to know him and he don’t forget him,” Manderson said, in a recent interview with the Cayman Compass.

Justin, he said, was just 24 years old when he was gunned down on West Bay Road near Seven Mile Shops. Manderson said he knew his son was no angel and was mixed up with gangs at the time.

- Advertisement -

He had been charged with the January 2015 murder of Victor Oliver Yates in West Bay, but that case was dropped ahead of a planned trial.

However, the West Bay resident told the Compass his son had turned his life around when he found out he was going to be a father.

“Justin had changed. Justin was working seven days a week, all day. He would come home. He had a boat that he was working on up until two o’clock in the morning and Justin would get up 6:30 to 7 o’clock in the morning and go to work seven days a week. As he come home, he was there with the baby every day. So Justin had made a big change,” he said, which is why Manderson said the killing hurt him even more.

Cold Case Files

He said 1 Oct. 2016 started out like any other day for Justin and him.

The next time he would see his son, he was on a hospital bed fighting for his life at the Cayman Islands Hospital.

They had spent the day together, then Justin took his mother to get groceries. Upon returning home, he said, Justin borrowed his bike to head to a nearby house.

The next passages contain descriptions that some readers may find distressing. Manderson said Justin’s mother called him and delivered the news.

“She said they just shot Justin by Nectar. So I screamed out… sister heard me. They ran outside and we took off and we went to the scene first. When I got there the officers said ‘No, Jake.’ They already left with Justin. So, we took off and went to the hospital,” he said.

Nothing prepared Manderson for what he was about to see when he got there. “The doctor told me and his mother, they tried to hold him steady because they were trying to get the drip and stuff set up on him because they had to take him to the emergency room… I tried to hold him and he was kicking and going on because of the pain… then Justin started bringing blood up,” he said.

He said he watched them wheel his son into the operating theatre. Justin’s mother and other relatives returned home, but he stayed there, lying by the entrance of the theatre. “It seemed like forever and later the nurse came and said ‘Mr. Manderson, they want you to go to the quiet room… ’ I say, ‘Is everything OK with my son?’ She said, ‘Go’… I say, ‘Is everything OK?’ But I knew it wasn’t,” he said, his voice cracking.

Anyone with information on Justin Manderson’s murder can call the Serious Crime Review Team confidential tip line 649-2930.

He said that was the worst day of his life. Manderson lamented that gun violence does not break the cycle of pain.

“There’s no win-win for nobody. Like if somebody took my child, you may think that you kill him and that’s the end of that. Me, his mother, my family, everybody this going to be with us for the rest of our life,” the grieving father said. Manderson appealed to anyone who may have information on those responsible for his son’s death.

“I will appreciate if they get in contact with the police and give them whatever information… don’t care how big or how small it is… the smallest detail might be what we need to crack this case and I ask anybody out there… try to help us out,” he pleaded.

- Advertisement -

Support local journalism. Subscribe to the all-access pass for the Cayman Compass.

Subscribe now