Philipsburg:--- The highly understaffed police department was forced to halt all current investigations and put all their effort and manpower behind the four homicides they are currently investigating. The announcement was made during a joint press statement on Monday by the Prosecutor's office and the Police Department.
Head of the Detective department Denise Jacob in a brief statement to the press on Monday called on the community of St. Maarten to contact the police with whatever information they may have which would lead to solving the brutal killings that took place last week. Jacob said persons with information can call 581-3781 or the tip line 9300. Jacob further explained that the four cases have the highest priority of the police. However, they need the public's cooperation to solve these violent murders. Jacob in her short statement said the people of St. Maarten and its visitors do not deserve this kind of cruelty.
In the meantime, press prosecutor Rienk Mud said the attorney general has made Naf. 25,000.00 available to his office for the golden tip that would lead police to solve any of the four recent murder cases.
Police Spokesman Ricardo Henson said within 10 days the community of St. Maarten has been struck with four violent murders. Henson said the recent developments have caused major concerns in the community of St. Maarten and St. Martin, thus the police are doing their best to solve the murders.
The first murder to be committed was Ludovic Guillevin who was attacked during the night of February 25th on Mullet Bay beach; Guillevin died of his injuries in Martinique, the second murder victim was Edwardo Nova Valdez whose body was found on March 4th on Alexis Arnell Road, then the murder of Emilo de Leon Reyes which also took place on the evening of March 4th at his house at Quilletor Drive. Reyes was shot multiple times, while the fourth murder victim was Fiodel Louis whose body was found on March 5th behind the Learning Unlimited School in Cay Hill.
Three of the four murder victims namely, Guillevin, Valdez, and Louis were violently attacked and left to die. While it might appear as though St. Maarten has a serial killer on the loose police are tightlipped and even refused to say if the cases are linked. Henson said the victims were violently killed.
After making the short statements, the police spokesman said that neither the police nor the prosecutor's office was willing to take questions from the media. Reporters that attended the press conference could not make do with the short statements thus they all filed questions to those that attended the press conference.
While the crime rate has escalated and the island seems to be in a crisis, there have been several rumors of recent rape cases and robberies all of which the police has denied. Henson said if those crimes were indeed committed the police have no intention to hide them and as soon as complaints are filed the information will be released to the media. Asked about the undermanned police force Jacob said that even though the police department is short staffed the investigations will not be affected as the police has halted their other investigations to focus on the latest murders. Asked if this is the first time St. Maarten is faced with so many violent murders in a short period of time, press prosecutor Rienk Mud said three years ago when he came to St. Maarten he was confronted with three homicides during his picket week. Mud said now there are three murders in less than 24 hours which to him is unprecedented. Mud said just over ten days ago they announced that the last murder was in October 2010. He said the police and prosecutor just cannot say if this trend will continue, however, they are appealing with the community of St. Maarten to come forward as they need to solve these crimes together.