A 62-year-old Arima grandmother was found dead yesterday, and police suspect she may have suffocated as intruders had bound and gagged her.
Monica Ruiz, lived in the quiet neighbourhood of Sherwood Drive, Arima and was last seen alive by relatives on Friday. The mother of four had trouble moving around and would need the assistance of others to do so.
Police reported that around noon yesterday, one of Ruiz’s siblings arrived at her home with lunch when she discovered her body in a bedroom, bound and gagged with “marks of violence”. Several appliances were missing, among them an old twin tub washing machine, a refrigerator, other appliances and valuables. Police suspect the woman was attacked sometime between Friday night and early yesterday morning. Relatives, when approached, were too distraught to speak with the media. Neighbours said they hardly saw Ruiz, who grew up in the house and moved out after she was married.
She only returned when her husband died. Relatives told Sunday Newsday that Ruiz’s husband was murdered some two decades ago in Wallerfield and after that she returned to her childhood home. Ruiz was described as a great cook who was always there for her family and “enjoyed a drink”, ever so often, and was always “full of love”.
Visiting the scene was Snr Supt Kenneth Galindo, the head of the Homicide Bureau of Investigations, who said cases like what happened to Ruiz “really gets to him”. Galindo said for someone to die in such circumstances, especially at the time in their life when they are “relaxing” was troubling. He added police have been seeing an increase in home invasions and are addressing these crimes. Galindo said to date 80 people have arrested and charged for murders, with 139 last year and 110 the year before. However, he said there are still “murderous people” out there.
Galindo said he would not give a preliminary cause of death in Ruiz’s case, adding that experience has taught him to wait for the autopsy. To date, 25 women have been murdered.
Santa Rosa councillor Judy Garner told Sunday Newsday Ruiz’s death was “heart wrenching”. She expressed condolences to the family and said she hoped the perpetrators are held soon. Garner said she has invited religious leaders from the Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corporation, which has jurisdiction over the area where Ruiz lived, to hold revival meetings.
“Like many other communities we have issues with crime but we are not losing hope. It broke my heart when I heard about the details of Ms Ruiz’s death. We will have to get back to being our neighbour’s keeper. We have to pay attention to the people coming into our communities and bring back that oneness in the community because it may not affect us today but one day it will whether directly or indirectly,” Gardner told Sunday Newsday.
National Security Minister Edmund Dill when asked yesterday about four murders that occurred overnight Friday, including Ruiz’s killing, said, “When you have one murder it is cause for concern so when you have four it is really a cause for concern. I spoke with acting Police Commissioner (Stephen Williams) this morning (yesterday) and the matters are being looked at. No doubt you would have seen the increased police presence on the streets this happened in recent times.”
Dillon made the comment while attending a peace rally in Never Dirty, Morvant.
Apart from Ruiz, Mariana Moonisar, Attiba Alexander and Kevin Scott were killed between Friday and yesterday.