Relatives of Philip Epiphane, whose body was reportedly found lying face down under a tree with a rope around his neck last December in Bocage, Castries, believe his death was a murder and not suicide.
In a statement to St. Lucia News Online on Tuesday, Jan. 16, relatives criticised the police, alleging that the lawman have a suspect in the case but have failed to make an arrest.
“We the family of Philip Epiphane are writing to say how disappointed we are in the investigation of his death due to it actually being a murder,” the statement reads.
“The police have all the evidence in front of them and yet still an arrest cannot be made when everyone knows who committed the crime.”
In the release, relatives stated that the alleged killer is well known to Epiphane, and that the suspect made “countless” threats to the him.
Relatives said the suspect never reported Philip missing until December 27 when the body was found. They alleged that the suspect found the body “doing his rounds”, and added that the suspect has not given his statement to the police to date.
“Our officers need to stop waiting on people to feed them information as they sit at a desk, and get up and go out and do their jobs. Too many crimes are going unsolved in this country and families have no closure. We the family will not stop until this perpetrator is taken off the streets,” the family statement concludes.
This is the tree which police stated that Epiphane was found beneath. The branch was cut by the police to remove the piece of rope, and the second picture (right) has the thin branch the rope was in, but he was not found suspended.
According to a police press release, “on Wednesday, December 27, 2017 about 9:56am, officers attached to the Criminal Investigations Department, Castries, received a report of a suspected suicide at Bocage, Castries.
“Philip Epiphane, a fifty one (51) year old resident of Carielle, Castries was found in a prone position beneath a tree with a rope around his neck. He was subsequently pronounced dead by a medical practitioner.
“This was the twelfth suspected suicide recorded for the year 2017. Investigations into the circumstances surrounding the death are ongoing.”
A second police press release on the cause of the death stated: “A post mortem examination was conducted on the body of Philip Epiphane, a fifty one (51) year old resident of Carielle, Castries whose body was discovered under a tree with a rope around his neck at Bocage on Wednesday December 27, 2017 about 9:56am.
The examination revealed the cause of death as asphyxia secondary to hanging. This was the twelfth suspected suicide recorded for the year 2017.”
Epiphane, also known as Zozo, Gilroy, Leroy and Zordie, is believed to have died between Dec 21-23, 2017, but his partially decomposed body was found on Dec. 27, 2017, relatives said.
The father of two daughters and one granddaughter, was laid to rest on Monday, Jan. 15, 2018 at Choc cemetery.
Relatives said the deceased was a security guard at Bocage Primary School.
They added that he was a former resident of Cafeille, Choiseul but was living at Chase Gardens, Castries at the time of his death.