A post mortem has revealed that 19-year-old Chereece Benoit of La Feuille, Monchy died of asphyxia due to ligature strangulation – a type of strangulation while the body is on the ground using some form of cord-like object.
According to forensic sources on the web, this type of strangulation puts pressure on the neck that is applied by a constricting band that is tightened by a force other than body weight. This form of strangulation causes death by obstructing the blood vessels supplying oxygen to the brain.
A lamp cord, rope, dog leash, even pantyhose can be used for ligature strangulation.
The post mortem examination was conducted on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013, a police press release states.
In response to queries by St. Lucia News Online, police said there is no evidence that Benoit was raped.
At least three persons of interest who were being questioned by police have since been released without charge due to lack of evidence but police continue to pursue leads.
“Police are actively pursuing investigations into her homicide,” a police release stated. “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.”
A previous police press release stated that the homicide occurred between 11:30 a.m. and 1.30 p.m. on Thursday, September 12, 2013 at Benoit’s residence in La Feuille, Monchy.
Benoit was home alone, police said.
“The mother of the victim returned to her residence at about 8:45 p.m. to find it disturbed. She proceeded to her daughter’s room to find her lying face down on her bed with her limbs bounded. Consequently, the police was called and an investigation commenced,” the release stated.
This has been the 24th homicide for 2013.
Meanwhile, the St. Joseph’s Convent will be having a march in honour of Benoit at 2:30 pm on Wednesday, September 18 from the school grounds to the Derek Walcott Square in Castries.
According to the organisers, all youth and parents are encouraged to participate “and help us to let our voices be heard. No one deserves this”.
A vigil will also be held on Friday, September 20 from 5:30 pm.
“We gather at the Castries Market and walk to the Serenity Park. This also is in honour for Chereece. Please come out and pray with us. To pray for the family and her friends,” organisers say.
A Facebook page in memory of Benoit that was created on September 14 – two days after her death – has already attracted over 2,000 likes.