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September 12, 2021 will be seven years since Chereece Benoit was brutally murdered at her La Feuille, Monchy home.

‘Chereece Benoit’s mother needs justice’

“Let us not forget the death of 19-year-old Chereece Benoit of La Feuille, Monchy. The murder occurred between the hours of 11:30 a.m. & 1.30 p.m. on Thursday, September 12, 2013, at her parent’s residence in La Feuille, Monchy. – Raise Your Voice St. Lucia”

This post was shared on popular social media network, Twitter, by Rhyesa Joseph on April 10, 2019. The post received just 36 retweets, 9 quote tweets, and 98 likes.

And one direct response: “Will never forget” posted by ‘Remz/Web Developer”.

Again, in 2020, Raise Your Voice St. Lucia, posted a similar message, adding, “The mother of Chereece Benoit needs justice for her daughter.”

But has the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) forgotten about this cold case?

September 12, 2021 will be seven years since Chereece, also known as ‘Cher’, was brutally murdered, and like many other murder cases of females in Saint Lucia, no one date has been arrested and charged for her death.


DAY OF THE MURDER

Suspicion arose early that day, Thursday, September 12, 2013, when Chereece’s mother reportedly called her cell phone a number of times and got no response.

At 8:45 p.m., according to media reports, her mother returned to their La Feuille, Monchy home in Gros Islet and realised the home was in darkness. Is she asleep or has she gone out? But wouldn’t she have contacted me if she went out or something? Those may have been the questions on the mind of the mother when she saw the house in darkness.

But little did she know the horror she would discover moments later inside her home.

According to media reports, the mother was shocked when she discovered Chereece in her bedroom lying face down on her bed — motionless. Her hands and feet were tied. Her mouth was gagged.

Reports also indicated her room had been ransacked.

Police later revealed that she was likely killed between late Thursday morning and early Thursday afternoon.


CAUSE OF DEATH

From the time her body was discovered it was obvious that she was strangled, based on the marks on her neck.

This was confirmed by a post-mortem conducted on Chereece’s body on Saturday, September 14, 2013.

“The results indicate asphyxia secondary to ligature strangulation,” the RSLPF said in a press release.

Ligature strangulation is strangling with some form of cord such as a rope, a wire, or shoelaces — either partially or fully circumferencing the neck, according to Wikipedia.

“Police are actively pursuing investigations into her homicide. The Royal St. Lucia Police Force is appealing to anyone who has information which can assist in solving the homicide of Chereece Benoit to contact the Gros Islet Police Station at 456 4061/62 or the Major Crimes Unit at 456 3754,” the press release added.

And seven years later? The case has definitely gone ice cold.

POLICE INVESTIGATION

Despite a report of “persons of interest” being questioned, it is still unclear whether the police had arrested anyone in this case. If they did, it was not disclosed to the public. But what is clear is that no one was ever formally charged with Chereece’s murder.

According to a media report, the police were interviewing “persons of interest”. The report, published on St. Lucia News Online, further stated that interviewing persons of interest in criminal cases is a normal process in police investigations.

“Police will interview almost anyone who last had contact with her, who last saw her, who last argued with her, anyone who stalked her or was seen in the vicinity of the crime spot, among other factors. It’s a usual process to eliminate suspects as well as find the perpetrator. No one has been formally arrested,” the online newspaper wrote, adding, “However, the police is encouraging anyone with any bit of information to call the Gros Islet Police Station at 456-4061/62 or the nearest police station.”

REACTION

Following her untimely death, politicians, the police, and other individuals and organisations came out with statements.

Headlines such as “Ministry expected to issue comprehensive statement on forensic lab; Chereece Benoit homicide remains unsolved”; “Benoit’s untimely death has stirred in me a grief and confusion”, says Gros Islet minister”, “LPM leader releases statement on latest homicide”, and “Police say they are sparing no effort in trying to solve the Chereece Benoit murder”, were some of the headlines that appeared on St. Lucia News Online.

The United Workers Party (UWP), which was in opposition at the time, released a statement from its Gros Islet constituency branch, saying it “is standing in full solidarity with the family and friends of murdered teenager Chereece Benoit, a resident of the northern-most constituency. We share the grief of the family and friends of a life, which the embodiment of the quality potential and youthful energy. The murder of Ms. Benoit robbed our nation of a life that appeared destined to success and excellence.”

A few days after her death, a march and vigil were held for Chereece, a former student of St. Joseph’s Convent and the Sir Arthur Community College.

The reaction on social media was no surprise, as it relates to cases of a similar nature. People expressed anger and shock.

Joseph Clercent said (comment edited): Sad to see and hear how another teenager’s life is cut short. The Lord really needs to put a hand in this world especially on these men in St. Lucia…….but anyway on behalf of myself and the St. Lucia Volleyball Federation, I want to extend my sincere condolences to her mom and the rest of her family. I hope God bless and help see you’ll through these difficult times. May she rest in peace. RIP Chereece.

Another said: “And to think this poop is still out there!.. God answers prayer!”

Below is a video dedicated to the memory of Chereece Naomi Benoit: