LINDO CREEK MURDERS: Grief-stricken mother clings to memories of teen son

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By Devina Samaroo

Nearly a decade after the gruesome death of her teenage son at a mining camp in Lindo Creek, the wounds of his grief-stricken mother, Yonette Torres, are still fresh, as are her fears of revealing relevant information that could lead investigators to her son’s killers.

Trembling in fright with tears rolling down her cheeks, Torres told a high-level team at the Kwakwani Riverfront that the persons who murdered her 17-year-old son, Nigel, have to pay the ultimate price.

“I really miss my son and whosoever did that, they are going to pay for it, they are going to pay for it… no one feels the pain like a mother feels,” the weeping mother expressed.

In June 2008, the burnt body bodies of eight miners were discovered at a camp owned by Leonard Arokium during the height of the security forces’ pursuit of the country’s most wanted men.

Dead: Nigel

Family members were never satisfied with the police’s investigation into their deaths and President David Granger consequently established a Commission of Inquiry (COI) to find out the truth of what happened to the eight men.

The four year-long investigation by the Police Force pinned the murder of the miners on the Rondell ‘Fineman’ Rawlins gang but Torres knew something different.

She lived in a wooden house several miles away from Lindo Creek and would often see “black clothes” police and “strange vehicles” traversing the area during June 2008.

“My husband told me they were here hunting Fineman,” she told the COI team that is currently in the jungles of Region Ten interviewing persons who may have information about what unfolded ten years ago.

Torres said she had vital information about what might have happened to her son and the other miners, but she is terrified to inform the authorities.

Yonette Torres. [News Room photo]
“I have some things to say and I [don’t] want to say it because you know when you say it, [you know] what would be at the back of you. People said a lot of things to me but I don’t want to say it because I love my children and I want to live for them…I am very scared to say what I want to say,” the brokenhearted mother related.

Torres has two young daughters and she explained that the main reason her son went to work was to take care of them.

“I said to him I don’t want him to work with anyone. I want him at home…he was just seventeen…[but] he was going to work to help his two sisters, they were very small and he was going to work to help them and that was the finishing of my son,” the mother wept.

She said it was always her desire for her son to further his education but they could not have afforded it, especially since her husband, Edmond, was often the victim of robberies.

Torres had opened her home to the miners and one day, one of the men offered her son a job at the Arokium Camp. She could not recall the day she last saw her son but she remembered it was a Sunday morning.

Torres said she was heading off to church while her son was packing to head to the camp and when she returned home, he was gone. She spent the rest of her days worried and kept asking everyone she saw whether they knew if her son was okay, and their responses were always positive until one day, she received the dreaded news.

Torres has never received closure and she is craving for justice. She does not believe the police’s investigation revealed the truth about her son’s death.

Today, she keeps two photographs of her son in her bible and she holds on to a pair of old rugged pants – the only item she has in her possession that belonged to her beloved Nigel.

“Ten years even after my son died… This is the only thing I have, this is my son’s pants and every time my children throw it away, I would go in the garbage and pick it up and look at it. This is the pants he leave [behind]. He took all of his clothes and left only this old pants,” Torres said, as she tightly gripped the pants and broke down in tears.

These days, Torres said she works tirelessly to provide for her family; many days, she would “work boat” after midnight. She said if her son was alive today, she would not have to work so hard.

Torres said not a day goes by where she does not miss her son and it pains her to know that his life ended just before he started living.

“You why we did love him? Because he was mannerly, he was respectable, we never had a problem with him, he was never rude to us, he was always kind to us, he was always loving to us and I will always miss him,” the mother wept.

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