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We are saddened and mystified!

Body in freezer is first murder for Greenvale housing scheme

BY ALICIA SUTHERLAND Observer staff reporter sutherlanda@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, February 10, 2014    

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester — With the gruesome death of 67-year-old Lema Arthurs last week, shocked and confused residents of the decades-old Greenvale Housing Scheme in Mandeville are still trying to come to terms with what they say is their first murder in the area.

Arthurs was reported missing on Tuesday and, according to police reports, her lifeless body was found Wednesday about 8:00pm in a freezer at her home with her throat slashed.

President of the Greenvale Housing Scheme Citizens' Association and Neighbourhood Watch, Sheila Pike said that Arthurs was a "vibrant and dedicated" member of the association.

"We are shaken up. Ms Lema is a good citizen. She is a people person," she said of Arthurs whom she had known for over 40 years.

She said that the former bauxite employee loved children and would always offer them fruits from her trees. The scheme had been around for over 50 years and it was the first murder that had taken place there, she said.

Youth group leader in the community, Dwight Gouldbourne said: "Persons who live here over 45 years say they have never seen this. We are very saddened and mystified by this horrifying death."

Arthurs, the mother of an adult daughter, is said to have lived in the community at the home which belonged to her parents before leaving to live at her matrimonial home. Residents said she returned to the home in the community for a "good time now", and was living alone, though she remained good friends with her husband from whom she was separated.

Pike said that the neighbourhood watch members meet every third Sunday and it was quite a vibrant organisation that looked our particularly for its "singles".

"We have an alarm system (to) alert each other. We have a code for illness, burglary, and so on," she said, adding that she was part of a group, including Arthur's husband, who were trying to find her when it was noticed that she was missing.. They searched her house, in the bushes, and even the tank in the yard.

"We never thought that she would be in a deep freeze," she said.

Pike bemaoned the fact that, despite the precautions, the scheme does not usually have challenges with criminals. Every year since 1997, the Greenvale Housing Scheme had been involved in the National Housing Trust's best scheme competition and "we never come home without a plaque or monetary rewards", noting that the competition was judged on criteria such as crime rate, how the environment is maintained, and care for elders and those in need.

On Saturday the Constabulary Communications Network told the Jamaica Observer that no one has yet been held in connection with Arthur's murder and no motive has been established for her killing.

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