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(JAMAICA OBSERVER) — Family members and members of the legal fraternity were yesterday left inconsolable following the retrieval of a decomposed body, strongly believed to be that of 65-year-old attorney-at-law William Hines, in a sinkhole on his farm here yesterday afternoon.
Hines, who is of Greenside, Falmouth, and Mona in St Andrew, has been missing since Sunday, January 6.
The skeletal remains were discovered, with hands and feet bound, by a search party in the sinkhole near a storeroom on a cattle farm which Hines has operated in Orange Hill, near Goodwill District in St James, about 4:30 pm on Saturday. The manner of death is unknown.
Since the attorney went missing, the police, with assistance from the Jamaica Defence Force and family members, have been searching for him.
The hole in which the body was found was neatly covered with dry wood and other debris.
Crime scene investigators, who worked assiduously to gather evidence from the scene on Saturday night, returned to the scene yesterday morning.
Members of the Trelawny division of the Jamaica Fire Brigade, who were geared to fetch the body from the hole Saturday night, had to abandon that mission to attend the scene of a fatal crash in Lilliput elsewhere in the parish.
They returned to the scene yesterday morning and completed the recovery operation.
A close family member told the Jamaica Observer that the tested eyeglasses belonging to Hines was retrieved from the sinkhole, which is a short distance away from a storage house on the farm. The Observer has also learnt that a burnt attaché case belonging to Hines was found outside of the storage facility.
Members of the legal fraternity who were on the scene from Saturday night, and who returned yesterday, called for justice.
“We are upset about the loss of our colleague, and we are disturbed about the length of time it has taken to find him and for us to even get to this point. We know that his soul cannot rest in peace until his killer or killers are found. And we want anybody with any information to provide what they have to the police, because, as I understand it, even his vehicle is still missing up to this point,” said a grief-stricken Khadine Colman, attorney-at-law.
Attorney Laverne Walters noted the irony of Hines allegedly dying at the hands of a person like the ones he would have represented in court when they are charged for murder and other crimes.
“My concern is that they took too long to locate him. But what is troubling is that my colleague did substantial criminal work [representation of defendants]. He fell prey to persons he personally would have represented if they were apprehended or charged with any misdeeds, any crime. And for them to do him this disservice, is a reflection of how terrible things have descended in our society. What I can say is that we will not stop until his killers are located,” she said.
She called on the Government to prioritise its spending on crime-fighting tools “and stop wasting money on frivolous things”.
“What really saddens me even more is the level of limited resources we have in this country and for us to utilise it to do things that are unnecessary. We were here Saturday night for the body to be removed and, unfortunately, though the ambulance and the fire truck were here, they were subsequently called away because of an accident and they were told that they needed backup . How can we utilise resources to spend [otherwise] when we do not have the resources to man a crime scene?” she questioned.
She added: “The scene of crime unit… we were here waiting on it for hours because I don’t know how many units they have, but these are things we need to put money into. If we are saying we are serious about fighting crime, how can these resources be so limited? The additional delay was just unfortunate, and it stems from lack of resources. So I would ask the powers that be, who have no regard obviously for these little things, to look within themselves and stop wasting money on frivolous things.”
Trevor Mattison, a member of Hines’ native Comfort Hall community, near Salt Marsh, who was among the large gathering at the recovery scene yesterday, expressed sadness and despair at the dastardly act.
“It’s sad, sad. A member of the community is gone that way to people who he might know, and in the end this is the result. It is very shocking.”
Apart from his vehicle, Hines’ licensed firearm is also said to be missing.
An impeccable Observer police source revealed that the police are following leads in the gruesome killing.