Four years later, father clings to hope that Ranella Benfield’s killer will be caught
By Isanella Patoir
Three weeks before her 18th birthday, Ranella Benfield was found brutally murdered in a cemetery about one mile from her Beterverwagting, East Coast Demerara house.
Her face was badly damaged and her clothing was pulled down; her father, Rainsford Benfield would remember that day for the rest of his life.
It was on December 11, 2017, when Rainsford was told by police officers that his daughter’s body was found in the Triumph cemetery. Ranella left home for work at about 08:00hrs on December 09.
Her father recalled that she had indicated she would spend the night with her cousin at Plaisance, so it was not alarming when she did not return home.
“So, after she did not come home, it did not ring any bell.
“We started to realise that something was wrong the Sunday morning [December 10] after she did not turn up and her phone was going straight to voicemail,” Rainsford stated during an interview with the News Room on Thursday.
Five persons were initially detained for questioning at the time, but to date, no one has been charged with the heinous crime.
An autopsy found that the young girl died from crushing injuries to her face, which were caused by a blunt object.
Her father said he is still clinging to hope that one day, her killer will be brought to justice.
“The inquest had started at Sparendaam Court but since the pandemic, they said that the inquest was suspended and from then to now, I haven’t heard anything,” Rainsford stated.
Five months after Ranella was discovered dead, investigators arrested her father, mother and older sister.
Rainsford spent three days in police custody before being released.
The last time Rainsford saw his daughter was when she left on the morning of December 09.
“She woke me up and said: ‘Daddy, I am going’.
“That was the last time I heard anything from my daughter and [saw] her alive.”
Ranella had only started working at Qualfon a few months after completing high school. She was described by her father as jovial and kind.
“At that time we had a small daughter, she was just two years old and Ranella was always with her and would take her anywhere she was going,” Rainsford recalled.
According to the father, Ranella had dreams of becoming a social worker before her life was snatched from her.
Her death had a tremendous effect on the family and Rainsford said it led to him and his wife separating.
“It is very hard, given the fact that you don’t have any closure and then the police are saying that I am [a] suspect, it makes it more difficult to cope with it,” Rainsford said.
He believes that his daughter was killed because of a group that he suspects she was part of.
“Based on the information that we have heard, I am of the firm belief that they had something to do with her death,” the father said.
While he is not satisfied with how the police handled the investigation, Rainsford said, “I have to hope that God will reveal the killer or killers so we can get justice.”
Ranella was the second of four children.