[UPDATED] Two suspects dead, no answers

Joel Belcon -
Joel Belcon -

While the autopsy on kidnap suspect Andrew Morris was under way, Joel Balcon, 36, another man held in relation to the kidnapping and murder of Andrea Bharatt, took his last breath at the Mt Hope Hospital. where he was warded.

Police confirmed Balcon, aka Devon Charles, died at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the hospital at around 2.32 pm on Monday.

A police media release said Balcon was injured when he tried to escape police custody and was taken to the hospital, where he remained up to his death.

Balcon had charges against him for over 70 offences, including rape, grievous sexual assault, kidnapping and breaking and entering.

Up to the time of his death 45 of these cases were still pending.

Balcon’s death, together with the inconclusive findings of Bharatt’s autopsy, left many questions unanswered as two suspects remain in custody.

Last Wednesday Morris, 36, died after he was allegedly beaten while in police custody.

Police have denied these claims, contending that Morris, who suffered from hypertension and diabetes, declined food and fell from a chair while in custody.

Contacted for a comment on Balcon’s death, Police Commissioner Gary Griffith said, “I extend my condolences to the Bharatt family.”

Newsday visited an apartment on Gooding Trace, Malabar, where Balcon and his family lived, but was told by neighbours that they moved out on Sunday and the neighbours did not know where they relocated to.

Asked if they were aware of Balcon’s reputation and criminal past, neighbours said they only found out about his background when news of his arrest surfaced last week.

“He wasn’t from the area so we didn’t know much about him. He was from the Arima Old Road and moved here a little while now, but from the interactions we had with him he used to seem like a pretty normal person.

“It was only when the mark bust last week we found out who he really was. We were surprised to know that someone like that could come and live among us so quietly in this neighbourhood.”

Another neighbour said Balcon worked as a supervisor with a mattress factory and said he had no idea of his past.

“Those are the kinds of people that frighten me. They could talk to you normal and laugh and they hiding all kinds of wickedness.

“This is a quiet neighbourhood. Everybody is cool and normal in the back here, so this is the first time I’ve heard of this.”

Newsday contacted director of the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) David West, who said his organisation would be investigating Balcom's death, as he was in police custody.

Last Thursday West said the authority would be investigating Morris’s death as well.

On social media, news of Balcon’s death was met with applause as users showed little sympathy and expressed their condolences to Bharatt’s father.

Bharatt, 23 was reported missing on January 26 after she left work at the Arima Magistrates Court and got into a car she thought was a taxi on King Street, Arima, but never arrived home.

Her body was found last Thursday down a precipice at the Heights of Aripo, Arima.

Searches on Friday and over the weekend uncovered more human remains near the spot where Bharatt’s body was found, confirming suspicions that the area was used as a dumping ground for bodies.

Investigators from the Homicide Bureau of Investigations Region II are continuing investigations.

This story was originally published with the title "Second suspect in Bharatt case has died" and has been adjusted to include additional details. See original post below.

A second suspect held in relation to the kidnapping and murder of 22-year-old court clerk Andrea Bharatt has died.

Police said Joel Belcon, who was in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the Mt Hope Hospital, died at around 2.42 pm on Monday.

Sources said Belcon, alias Devon Charles, who was from the Arima Old Road, had at least 70 charges against him for various offences, including rape, grievous sexual assault, kidnapping and breaking and entering.

Belcon's body will be swabbed for a covid19 test and an autopsy is expected to be done at the Forensic Science Centre, St James, on Wednesday.

Last Wednesday, Andrew Morris, aka Solo, died in police custody after being held for Bharatt's kidnapping.

Sources told Newsday Morris was beaten by police. An official police media release said he was injured while resisting arrest.

His autopsy is scheduled for Monday afternoon.


"[UPDATED] Two suspects dead, no answers"

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