Burnt remains of suspected fruit thief found, farmer arrested


By Sharda Bacchus


Months after he was reportedly electrocuted while scaling a fence during a fruits raid with his friends, the charred remains, suspected to be those of a 22-year-old Bagotville, West Bank Demerara (WBD) resident, was discovered on Monday.

It is believed that the remains are those of Hakeen John also known as ‘Shaquille’ and ‘Botha’.

The News Room understands that the discovery was made at around 13:30 hrs at Cone Shop Street, La Grange, WBD – one day after one of the victim’s 16-year-old friends went to the La Grange Police Station.

He provided police with a detailed account of the incident which occurred sometime during the month of November 2023 at La Grange.

Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum confirmed that a police investigation was immediately launched into the matter which is being treated as manslaughter.

He said the suspect, a 59-year-old farmer, was arrested.  The News Room understands that the farmer reportedly confessed to retrieving John’s body which was hooked on his fence.

The 16-year-old friend told the police that he, John and another friend decided to steal fruits from a farm in La Grange. He revealed that when they approached the first farm, they were confronted by the owner who chased them with a cutlass.

They ran further down the dam where they eventually reached another farm.

In scaling the fence of that farm, the teenager said he and his friend heard John screaming when they realised he was being electrocuted.

He claimed that they tried to remove John from the fence but their efforts were futile. And so, they hid behind a mango tree until the following morning.

The area where the charred remains suspected to be those of John were found (Photo: News Room/February 27, 2024)

The teenager further noted that early the next morning, they saw the farmer picking fruits and the farmer later found John’s body.

He told the police that he saw when the farmer took a bed sheet, wrapped John’s body and dragged him more into the farm, before disappearing.

The teenager said he and his friend eventually left and that the friend threatened to kill him if he told anyone what happened.

On Sunday, the teenager accompanied the police to the location where they contacted the 59-year-old farmer.

The farmer took the police to his farm where the teenager pointed out the area. However, while there, it was discovered the fence where the victim was electrocuted was demolished and a new one was erected with barb wire.

On Monday, police acting on further information, returned to the scene where they discovered human bones, suspected to be those of John, in a clump of bushes.

There was also an electrical cable strapped to a coconut tree in front the suspect’s property.

Further checks made at the back of his property revealed a fire heap; the heap contained several pieces of burnt tyres and human bones, including what appear to be a skull.

Additionally, investigators recovered a burnt denim jeans and an underwear. The News Room was informed that the suspect told the police that he installed the electric fence to prevent youths from stealing his fruits.

He said he demolished the fence it in November last year after he came home and saw John “hook up” on the fence.

The remains were extracted for analysis. The suspect remains in custody as the probe continues.


Editor’s Note: This story, based on the Police report, contained that the victim’s name was Shaquille Jones. However, the News Room, during an interview with the victim’s mother, has since learnt that his correct name is Hakeen John known as Shaquille. This story has since been amended to reflect the victim’s correct name.

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