Randolph Bharatt at his home with a montage of his daughter Andrea Bharatt in the background yesterday.

Mark Bassant

Lead Editor, Investigative Desk

Two weeks after 23-year-old Andrea Bharatt was kidnapped and her body later found dumped at the Heights of Aripo, a Malabar man is to be charged with her murder.

A 35-year-old female suspect will also be charged with receiving stolen property.

Instructions to charge the duo came after homicide investigators met with DPP Roger Gaspard for several hours yesterday.

Police told Guardian Media that up to late yesterday they were preparing to lay the charges, which was expected to be done either last night or early this morning.

They will appear before a magistrate via an online connection sometime this afternoon.

Guardian Media understands that the female suspect is the girlfriend of the murder accused and also lives in Malabar.

The murder accused, according to senior police sources, was in the vehicle which carried a false taxi plate together with the main suspect, 37-year-old Joel Balcon when they kidnapped Bharatt at King Street, Arima on January 29.

For six days police scoured several forested areas in East Trinidad with the hope of finding Bharatt alive.

But those hopes were dashed when her decomposed body was found in the Heights of Aripo.

Her relatives were later able to identify her by the clothing.

Her death not only caused an outpouring of anger and grief across the country but since then there have been constant candlelight vigils, as many clamoured for changes in the law.

The murder suspect along with Balcon and five others had been in police custody two days after Bharatt went missing.

Balcon, who investigators believe was the mastermind in the kidnapping of Bharatt, was taken to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex hours after he had been taken up by police.

Senior sources say that Balcon, who was known to the police as a sexual, drug, firearms, robbery, and larceny offender, was in an unconscious state until he died on Monday last.

He was also paralysed.

Balcon beaten to death

A post mortem yesterday on Balcon’s body done at the Forensic Science Centre in St James by pathologist Dr Eastlyn McDonald Burris revealed that Balcon died due to multiple trauma to the body.

The injuries he sustained could have been due to a beating he alleged sustained.

Guardian Media also understands that toxicology and drug screening tests were also performed on Balcon’s body as well as a COVID-19 test.

The body of Balcon was identified by his father Trevor Neal and uncle Marvin Bramble. The results of the post mortem were later handed over to PC Williams.

One of the other suspects Andrew Morris died at the hospital on Monday, February 1, allegedly from injuries sustained while in police custody.

The post mortems done by the state and one independently revealed he died from blunt force trauma.

According to the first post mortem done at the Forensic Science Centre Morris suffered brain fractures, several broken ribs, bleeding from internal organs, burnt marks to the back (allegedly from a taser) contusion to the right eye, bleeding to the brain as well as damage to his shoulders and legs.

His relatives had alleged that he had been beaten at his Tumpuna Road home, in Arima by officers from the Special Operations Response Team (SORT).

Bharatt will be laid to rest following a funeral service tomorrow.