Autopsy shows Hannah was shot in the head

Police and soldiers leave the Butu Road, South Valsayn house of horrors after searching for a male suspect on March 13.  - Photo by Faith Ayoung
Police and soldiers leave the Butu Road, South Valsayn house of horrors after searching for a male suspect on March 13. - Photo by Faith Ayoung

This story has been adjusted to include additional details. See updated post here.

An autopsy result on the remains of 18-year-old Hannah Mathura has revealed she was shot in the head.

A senior police official confirmed her cause of death to Newsday on March 14.

Hannah’s remains were found buried in a shallow grave at her Butu Road, South Valsayn home on March 12 after a male relative reported her death to police.

The parents of the murdered teenager, who police say was autistic, could now face multiple charges as details surrounding her death and the treatment of her siblings emerge.

Up until March 14, Hannah’s parents were being interviewed by homicide officers as her death was being treated as a homicide.

The officer said police are still awaiting DNA confirmation but they are confident the remains found buried were Hannah’s, based on the clothing found with the remains and statements received.

“DNA takes some time, so that would be the final determining factor that confirms, 100 per cent, that it is her,” a senior officer said.

Newsday understands although both parents are being interviewed by homicide detectives, both may not be charged with her murder, and the Director of Public Prosecutions will make that decision based on the information from the interviews.

The senior officer said the couple could face other charges jointly.

“We’re looking at unlawful disposal (of a body). And when we finish analysing the statements, then we would know whether (they can be charged) with abuse, anything under the Children’s Act or any type of abusive behaviour.”

Head of the North Central Division Snr Supt Richard Smith called on the nation to “band together” and support Hannah’s siblings.

He said while some may ask why they stayed quiet about the situation for so long, the facts point to her siblings being victims as well.

“The wicked ones and the weak ones who hide behind social media will want to say certain foolishness, and I’m hoping that they don’t target these children.

“Their sister was buried in the backyard for seven years. It was a serious, gruesome secret...for a child to keep that for so many years. It must affect them and it will affect them psychologically and otherwise for many years.

“They have to continue with their lives, and I’m hoping that nobody bullies them in any way, because nobody knows what they have been through. The nation ought to come together and support them, because they have been through a lot.”

Smith said he is happy there can now be justice for Hannah’s death.

“It took seven years for this to come out...the victim was lying there for seven years, not getting justice.”

“I’m happy that we were able to deal with it expeditiously.”

Neighbours claim to have heard multiple instances of abuse and Hannah’s siblings also alleged they were abused both verbally and physically.

Smith told Newsday this situation should be a lesson to the rest of Trinidad and Tobago about the importance of being a good neighbour.

He said people in communities tend to keep to themselves nowadays, but warned this is not necessarily good. He said he has been addressing this issue at town meetings to urge people to be good neighbours.

“I always believe that neighbours should be neighbours, and not just because you’re living in a gated community or one of the so-called high-end areas that you should keep to yourself.

“I believe that we must be each other’s keeper.

“If you realise that something is happening with one of your neighbours or you suspect something, some people might say ‘yuh fast’ and ‘yuh macoing’ and all these different words they will use. But the fact is you’re just being a concerned citizen, and it doesn’t take much out of you to call 555 or 999.”

Smith added, “I’m just urging the members of the public, if you feel something is taking place, something is wrong. Based on what we saw here, I believe it should be a lesson for all of us that we should take a look.

“We find persons dead in homes decomposed for days and nobody checked in on them. I think that all this is just being a neighbour, just being a good neighbour and being your brother’s keeper.”

A neighbour on March 13 told Newsday that she had made multiple reports to the police, but no action was taken. Her husband said he called the Children’s Authority but hung up after an automated voice kept him on hold.

An official at the Children’s Authority told Newsday a “thorough review” of the hotline database on March 14 showed the authority had not received any reports concerning the family.


"Autopsy shows Hannah was shot in the head"

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