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Police deny mass burial site claim, but...

Monday, February 17, 2014    

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THE police on Saturday denied the existence of a mass burial site in East Kingston, saying that its "intensive investigations" and "days of thorough searches" yielded no human remains.

However, the Jamaica Observer can report that the police went to the area only one day and they were not equipped to dig deep to determine the veracity of the claims made by a former gangster.

According to the police force's Corporate Communications Unit, the police high command ordered the investigation in response to the January 26 Sunday Observer lead story that reported the claims of the former gang member.

The ex-gangster had told the Sunday Observer that gunmen, assisted by rogue policemen, have been killing people and burying their bodies in the vicinity of a sand mine in Eastern Kingston.

The gunmen, he said, are based between the East Kingston community of Rockfort, and the adjoining Harbour View in East Rural St Andrew.

The former gangster took the Sunday Observer to the area, called 'Crusher', and pointed to the general area where, he said, bodies were buried.

However, on Saturday, the police said they were "refuting the existence of any such site".

"After the article was published, the Police High Command instructed senior detectives of the Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB) to carry out an intensive investigation into the allegations, employing assets from the Forensic Scenes of Crime and the Canine Divisions," the Corporate Communications Unit said.

"With the assistance of the 'former gang member', the police were able to locate the 'sites'. And after days of thorough searches, assisted by highly trained cadaver dogs, the lawmen were only able to find the body of a decomposing dog that was recently dumped in the area," the police release said.

"It should also be noted that the sites where it is claimed that several bodies are buried is one of the busiest areas in East Kingston. A quarry, which employs several people, is located in that area. If claims were true, it is very likely that at some point the employees would have stumbled on some bodies," the police release added.

"Although we are certain that what was said in the article about this story is not true, we are willing to act on any future information provided to us," deputy commissioner of police in charge of the crime portfolio, Carl Williams, was quoted in the release.

However, the police neglected to say in its release that its search of the site was conducted only one day -- last Friday in the company of the Observer and the former gangster.

A team of policemen and two soldiers with machetes, forks, shovels, and pickaxes went to the location called 'Crusher', accompanied by two dogs.

The former gangster had also told the police in a meeting that bodies were buried deep in the sand, with the use of heavy-duty equipment.

He questioned the depth at which the dogs could sniff the bodies, should they be still there, as he believed that whenever the river was in spate, it washed away huge chunks of sand and earth.

He noted that signs of that type of erosion were still visible at the site and expressed concern that skeletons may have been washed away in the process.

When he pointed to an area where he said bodies were buried, the police complained that they could not gain access to the spot, as there had been massive erosion.

Counter to the police's claim that the site is "one of the busiest areas in East Kingston" there was no activity there when the police and the Observer visited last Friday.

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