HAGUE SETTLEMENT, Trelawny — A man accused of raping and killing a 23-year-old sales representative on Monday was later beaten, shot and injured by angry residents.
It was not clear if the injured man, who was last night in hospital under police guard, was shot by a licensed firearm holder or by a gunman.
The merchandiser, identified as Toneva Forbes, also called Samantha, 23, of Cambridge in St James, was allegedly lured to the home of the accused. Her body, police said, was found wrapped in a sheet under the bed of the accused with her hands and feet bound and mouth gagged.
It was speculated here yesterday that Forbes was raped then strangled. However, Acting Commander of the Trelawny Police Division, Assistant Superintendent Errol Thompson, said the constabulary was awaiting the results of a post-mortem to determine the cause of death.
"She did not die naturally, so we are investigating a homicide until the investigation proves otherwise," DSP Thompson told the Jamaica Observer during a telephone interview yesterday.
Thompson, who offered condolence to the family of the deceased, said the injured suspect was before the court on a sexual offence charge.
Forbes and a male colleague -- both employed to a Montego Bay business establishment -- entered the community together, but went into different directions to conduct their sales, and were scheduled to meet later in the afternoon. However, the police reported that the salesman became suspicious when he was unable to reach Forbes on her cellphone and called the police.
The police, during a search for the woman, discovered her body at a house occupied by the accused. There was no one at the home at the time of the discovery, the police said.
About three hours later, while crime scene investigators were processing the scene, gunshots rang out in the hilly section of the community. It was later discovered that the man suspected of raping and killing the woman was shot and injured. He was taken to hospital and placed under police guard.
Investigations into the shooting were also being conducted by the Trelawny police.
In the meantime, Forbes' common-law husband, Ricardo McIntyre, was in shock as he tried to deal with her untimely death.
A distraught McIntyre said the person responsible for killing his spouse, with whom he had two children, should not be allowed to live. "Him fi dead! Man like him fi heng [hang]!" McIntyre said, while holding his two children, who appeared oblivious to what had happened to their mother.
"I was asleep when I got a call from Samantha's mother asking if I heard the news that she is dead," the teary-eyed McIntyre recalled.
He said that since they have been living together for the past six years, Forbes only started to work for the first time last Monday.
The two children, he said, will now be left in the care of their grandmother.
Meanwhile, a number of McIntyre's family members, who converged on the scene to lend him support, expressed their shock and disbelief over the way Forbes met her death.
"Time so hard and she has her two kids, and to know that she go out there to earn a livelihood and assist her boyfriend and for dem to do her that, it is hard," one woman said.
"It hard. The other day dem rape five, including an eight-year-old and this again," the woman said, in reference to last week's rape of the five females at Irwin Point by gunmen.