Grieving brother recounts robbery days after sister's death

Observer staff reporter

Thursday, December 06, 2018

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DAYS after the body of 43-year-old Karen Cleary-Brown was discovered in a shallow grave at the house she was building in Boscobel, St Mary, thieves raided the property.

Cleary-Brown's brother, Donovan Reid, told the Jamaica Observer during a visit to the parish yesterday, that the hoodlums broke into the house shortly after 2:00 am, while he and his mother held their breaths in a locked room.

Reid described the ordeal as “terrible”, noting that his mother has been further crippled by fear as the family mourns Cleary-Brown's death.

“Mom is ill. She has heart problems; she has nerve problems. They tried our door. You could hear them. They were moving about and moving out stuff thinking no one is home,” Reid said.

He explained that the men made their way into the house through a garage window, and stole suitcases with clothes, barrels with food items, liquor, and work tools, among other things.

Reid said it was when his mother raised an alarm that the men fled in a waiting motor vehicle.

The police were summoned, and remained on property throughout the night.

No one was hurt during the housebreaking.

“If they had come into the room, we had nothing to protect ourselves. The fear I had was for them hurting Mom. It was a terrible experience. After all that has happened to this family, for them to come and do this, it's horrible.

“My mom right now is a wreck. She hasn't been able to walk since they find Karen. We had to take her to the doctor. So after they killed my sister, they still came back for more. They still came back to continue robbing us,” said Reid.

He told the Observer that Cleary-Brown, whose body was discovered on Monday after she went missing on November 25, was reportedly involved in a verbal altercation with the suspect, who was the caretaker at the house, on the day she went missing.

Reid said that the suspect, who has since been arrested by the police, was the one who took family members and the police to the shallow grave in the yard.

“Mom said that on the Monday (November 26) she was calling her and she wasn't getting her, and that was unlike Karen. They were like best friends. They spoke every day. So when she wasn't getting her, we decided to come [to St Mary],” Reid mentioned.

“He (the suspect) told us that her friends from foreign picked her up at 9:00 pm on the Sunday. But we told him that couldn't be because she told Mom when they spoke that day that she wasn't feeling well so she wasn't going anywhere,” he said, adding that they eventually went to the police station together.

Reid said while at the police station, he relayed the conversation he'd had with the suspect, and after allegedly receiving several different stories from the suspect, he was arrested.

Cleary-Brown, the seventh child for her mother, left Jamaica for London, England, at 18 years old. She had no children.

Reid said that his sister visited the island every six months, and did so in August to continue the supervision of the construction of the guest house she was building in Paradise Edge in Boscobel.

“There's nothing in place to protect returning residents. If we didn't come here, police wouldn't [have known]... he was just telling them stories. He was driving her Benz and Prado up and down,” Reid alleged, adding that items belonging to his sister were also found in the suspect's possession.

“My brother almost had a heart attack when he heard [about our sister's death]. Karen was so kind. She didn't deserve this,” he said.

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