THE two-week search to locate missing postal worker Tandy Lewis ended in tragedy yesterday when DNA tests confirmed that the partially burnt body of a pregnant woman found in bushes on the Port Royal road was that of the 30-year-old woman.
“Since she went missing I have been praying and hoping that she would return home safely,” a distraught Nadia Lewis-Gorton, the slain woman’s sister, told the Jamaica Observer.
Unfortunately, that was not to be.
Last evening, the Constabulary Communication Network, the police information arm, confirmed that the semi-nude body, found with hands bound and a wire around the neck, was that of the four-months pregnant Lewis.
“The DNA samples from both the mother and father of Tandy Lewis have aided them in positively identifying that the body found in the vicinity of Rocky Point on the Port Royal main road is indeed that of Lewis,” the police said.
A relative told the Observer that Lewis’s mother collapsed on hearing the news.
“She collapsed after she heard the news and the way how she heard it,” the relative said. “The family are upset that they had to hear the news over the media before they were contacted.”
Police report that Lewis has been missing from her Dunrobin Acres home since Saturday, October 13. Four days later, on October 17, they discovered the body of a female which had been set ablaze, but did not immediately make a connection between the find and Lewis’ disappearance. They believed the slain female was between 18 and 20. Deputy Superintendent Hornet Williams explained why.
“It was an angle that the police was looking at, but because of the state of the partially burnt body our efforts were hindered at the time,” said Williams.
A close friend and former colleague of Lewis was among the last persons who spoke with her.
“She called me the week before she went missing and asked me to pray for her because she was three to four months pregnant,” the friend, whose identity we are withholding, told the Jamaica Observer.
“She said she had just recently found out and that she had visited the gynaecologist to confirm,” the source said.
Lewis’s disappearance comes less than two months after her co-worker Barrington Davis, the postal department’s deputy security chief, went missing. His decomposing body, as well as that of companion Patricia Lurmot-Barnswell, were found in a canefield in the Innswood Estate area of St Catherine.
Lewis’s colleagues, meanwhile, have expressed sadness at the news.
Minister without portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Information Senator Sandrea Falconer hailed Lewis as a valuable member of the government communications group and extended deep sympathies to her family and friends on behalf of the group and the government.
“Ever since the disappearance of Ms Lewis, a member of the government communications family, all of us were not only deeply concerned, but prayed that she would be found alive. This news has confirmed our worst fears, and dashed all hopes we had,” Falconer said.
The Public Relations Society of Jamaica (PRSJ) was equally saddened at the tragic loss of its “colleague and friend”.
“She was a regular participant, and eager learner at the monthly Jamaica House communicators meetings. She was a quiet lady, but many of us knew her through the dedicated impact of her professionalism,” it said.
Both groups are urging those with information to aid the police in their investigations.
“The PRSJ condemns the upsurge in violence, particularly those acts directed towards women, and urge the public to prevent it where and when it threatens peace in our society,” the society’s statement continued.
Before entering PR Lewis was a producer at Radio Mona, then a feature writer at The Gleaner.