ON August 20, last year, the naked, decomposing body of Kimmel Robertson was found floating in a river at La Fillet by crabcatchers.
He had been reported missing to the Blanchisseuse police on the night of August 18, by a woman who was the last person who saw him alive. On the first anniversary of Kimmel’s death, his older sister Kyrla Robertson and the rest of the family are curious to know how he ended up dead in a river so far from his Chaguanas home.
Robertson and her family have questioned the story given by the woman, that Robertson, 29, wanted to leave behind all his worldly possessions and live in the forest. She said this was uncharacteristic of her brother, who was even afraid of his own shadow and never moved from his comfort zone.
Robertson is working on a request to Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith, under the Freedom of Information Act, to get copies of statements given to the police by any witnesses, or the woman who was with him when he disappeared.
Speaking from her Longdenville home, Robertson said the police did not properly investigate the circumstances surrounding his death. She said once the family got the autopsy result which confirmed Kimmel died by drowning, and there were no visible marks on his body suggesting foul play, they closed the case. She said the district medical officer who viewed the body, based on the decomposition, said he would have died on the Friday.
But his date of death was recorded on the autopsy report as the day he was found – August 20. She said her family is haunted by the mystery surrounding his death and want to know the truth, whether his death was accidental or otherwise.
“This incident has created a whole series of broken people. It’s painful for the family. One year later, all the memories have come flooding back of that day at the Forensic Science Centre. I still remember the smell, everything.”
Robertson recalled that around 6 pm on August 18, last year, a woman who was in a relationship with her brother came to her home and told her Kimmel was naked and missing and Robertson needed to go and look for him. Kimmel, the father of one, was married but separated from his wife.
Robertson, who is an executive member of the TT Unified Teachers Association, said the woman told them Kimmel wanted to go to a river and she had taken him and her four-year old daughter to Blanchisseuse.
The woman said although she had never driven to Blanchisseuse before, she drove that day while Kimmel lay in the back seat for the drive.
His sister recalled, “This was the time the solar eclipse was supposed to be happening, and she said when they got there Kimmel ‘tripped.’ She said he smoked weed and had been reading lost books of the Bible. She said he told her this was the end of time and they had to go back to nature and live in the forest. She said he made her strip down to her underwear (and) bury her clothes in the sand before he told her to crawl through the forest.
“She said her daughter became frightened and they left Kimmel in the forest.
“She is a red woman, and when she came by me that night, her clothes were not dishevelled; neither were there any scratches on her skin.”
She said the woman never sought help from anyone in the area or the police, but drove for almost three hours to get to her home in Central Trinidad. Robertson said her husband, a police officer, called the Blanchisseuse police, who asked the woman to come back, because she could not identify the last place she left him.
Robertson said when she asked the woman why she did not call from Blanchisseuse, “She said my brother made her throw her phone and tablet in a dustbin in San Juan, but on her way back she miraculously found it. She had the phone when she came to my house.” She said a search party of police, fire and other services combed the forest on Saturday and Sunday afternoon until Kimmel’s body was found in the river by a crabcatcher.
Robertson said her brother, the baby of the family, was frustrated after having lost his job at Arcelor Mittal when the plant was shut down. In his frustration, she said, he may have made a suicide pact with the woman, but at the last minute she changed her mind.
“We are not accusing anyone of anything foul, but there are many questions and no answers. We just want the truth,” Robertson said.