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Today is the 20th anniversary of the murder of our cousin, Tom Nugent, who traveled from Canada to Saint Lucia to celebrate my brother’s, Steve Sjodin’s wedding.
Tom was 23 when he was killed, newly graduated with a business degree from Queen’s University, excited about starting his adult life, full of plans and hope.
We know he met some people in Castries the night before he died. He wrote in his diary of his plans to meet “Vincie (Donald)” the next day. We know he happily headed out on the afternoon of April 17.
The only other thing we know for sure is that later that day somebody stabbed Tom with a three-inch blade, using enough force to pierce his sternum, severing his pulmonary artery.
At that moment our lives changed forever. His mother has had to endure two decades of not knowing why someone murdered her only child, trying to understand how someone or some people could have been so cruel as to attack him and leave him to die alone. We, his extended family, have had to watch his mother suffer, wasting away, now stick-thin, completely reliant on others to live.
Not a day passes when Tom isn’t with us – even our happiest memories are shadowed by the sorrow and fury of what happened to him. We know that Saint Lucians are warm and kind – we have family and friends on the island who reassure us that the people who killed Tom and those that witnessed it were scared, perhaps motivated by threats of retaliation if they spoke up.
We’re hoping that since so much time has passed someone will be brave and strong enough now to share what they know about that awful night. Facts will maybe help us move on from our agony of ignorance.
I’m reaching out to ask if someone, anyone, can shed light on exactly what happened on April 17, 1999 in Saint Lucia, close to Marchand, where a much loved young man never made it to a calypso concert.