Deaths at Marriott: Substance negative for narcotics; cyanide suspected


By Fareeza Haniff

Officials at the Guyana Forensic Laboratory have determined that the “white hard substance” which was found in the back seat of the car where two friends were found dead early Saturday tested negative for the presence of narcotics.

Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum told the News Room that officials at the Forensic Laboratory believe that the substance may be sodium cyanide, which is lethal.

However, this is yet to be confirmed as investigators have to send the samples to be tested overseas.

“Officials from the Guyana Forensic Laboratory have indicated to investigators that they suspect the substances may be sodium cyanide which is lethal to human beings in small quantities. However, this suspicion cannot be confirmed by the Officials because the laboratory doesn’t possess the capability to do such testing.

“As a consequence, the Guyana Police Force will resort to sending the samples to an overseas laboratory for further testing,” the Crime Chief said.

Sodium cyanide is a poisonous compound; it is a white, water-soluble solid. Cyanide has a high affinity for metals, which leads to the high toxicity of this salt.

The News Room earlier reported that investigators are reviewing CCTV footage in an effort to determine the circumstances surrounding the deaths of 25-year-old Paishnarine ‘Ritchie’ Hansraj and 34-year-old Justin Teixeira whose bodies were found inside Teixeira’s car at the Marriott Hotel in Kingston, Georgetown in the wee hours of Saturday.

A statement from Police Headquarters revealed that investigators were told by a 28-year-old employee of the Marriot Hotel that he received a telephone call from Teixeira’s 60-year-old mother at around 23:30hrs that her son was having a seizure. The mother asked if someone can check on him.

The hotel employee said he immediately dispatched another employee to check on Teixeira who was a guest at the hotel when it was discovered that the room he was staying in on the sixth floor was empty.

The employee then went to Teixeira’s black Vezel motorcar (PAC 2607) in the parking lot where he observed Teixeira sitting in the driver’s seat, and all the windows of the vehicle were halfway down.

The employee said he opened the front passenger door and discovered Hansraj sitting in a crunch-like position. Both Teixeira and Hansraj appeared to be motionless.

The employee immediately called 911 and the ambulance with EMT arrived; both men were pronounced dead at the scene.

Police confirmed that no marks of violence were seen on the exposed parts of the bodies.

The bodies were escorted to the Memorial Garden Funeral Home awaiting an autopsy.

Teixeira was a flight attendant attached to American Airlines and lived at Republic Park, East Bank Demerara. Hansraj is known for his singing and was slated to get engaged next month. He resided at Hague, West Coast Demerara and was the only son of his parents.

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