Family members are accustomed to 69-year-old Felix Shepherd going to bed early every night – sometimes as early as 6 p.m. – but on the evening of Friday, November 23, he was not in bed – nor anywhere in the house he sharesd with relatives on Riverside Road in Canaries.
“The night went by and they went back to his room and he wasn’t there,” Felix’s niece, Melissa Prospere, told St. Lucia News Online (SNO) earlier today.
Relatives became concerned and launched a search.
During the search, a young fisherman who heard that someone was missing in the village, told Felix’s relatives that he was in his boat the day before when he saw somebody in the area of the cemetery.
The fishermen said he waved to the person but the person did not wave back.
Armed with that piece of information, friends and relatives extended their search to the cemetery which overlooks a precipice and beach.
Shortly after their worst nightmare was realized: Someone peeped over the edge of the precipice and saw the body of a man, sprawled on its back on a rock: it was Felix Sheperd. It was approximately 3:45 p.m. Saturday when the discovery was made.
The man spotted at the cemetery hours earlier was probably Felix. But why did he sleep at the cemetery?
Prospere said it was a very unusual scenario because her uncle never slept outside his home. He is however known to take long routine walks almost every afternoon to Belvedere, to the cemetery and then back home.
“I don’t know what problem he had but that’s where (the cemetery) he slept,” she told SNO.
But this scenario only got more interesting when relatives told this reporter that Felix’s brother committed suicide in the same area about 24 years ago by jumping off the precipice and landing to his death on the beach.
So did Felix follow his brother’s tragic footsteps?
The family does not believe so.
“I don’t know of nothing wrong with him. He has no money problems, problems with anybody, no family problems. He has no problems,” said Sandra Sheperd, a cousin of the deceased.
Sandra said based on the information she received from police, it is highly likely that Felix accidentally fell and rolled down the precipice based on the position the body was found: on its back among rocks. She compared that to the position his brother was found decades ago: on the beach, metres from where Felix was discovered.
“If Felix had committed suicide he would’ve fallen straight on the beach but it appears he rolled down the side of the precipice,” she said.
However, during the interview SNO was told that Felix suffered from diabetes and prostate cancer, and he was also partially deaf. But they are still not convinced that his ill health drove him to commit suicide.
They have also ruled out foul play.
“Nobody will never do that (kill Felix), he was a nice guy, friendly to everybody,” Sandra said.
The cousin theorized that Felix may have accidentally fallen to his death due to complications from diabetes.
Prospere doesn not believe her uncle was murdered. She described him as a “quiet man” who would speak only when spoken to, and who would sit at one location for hours without speaking.
“If you talk to him he will talk to you. If you call his name he will answer but he won’t hold a long conversation with you. He is a quiet man,” Prospere said.
What if Felix was drunk and staggered off the cliff? Relatives however said Felix did not have a drinking problem either. Prospere said he stopped drinking “for a while now”.
Felix Sheperd, who migrated to the United Kingdom (UK) as a young man before returning to St. Lucia years ago as a pensioner, is survived by a son, who lives in the UK, relatives say.
Police have not released any official information on the death, however SNO understands that the lawmen are treating it as a “suspicious death” until the results of an autopsy prove otherwise.