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Police officers at the shallow grave where the body of Kezia Jeneka Guerra was found in Santa Barbara, Maracas St Joseph, yesterday.

Police officers investigating the murder of 28-year-old Santa Cruz resident Kezia Jeneka Guerra are considering the possibility that the man suspected of committing the crime took his own life hours after she went missing, last Saturday.

Police sources said that homicide detectives are working with the theory which arose following extensive investigations over the past few days which culminated in Guerra’s decomposing body being found buried in a shallow grave in Maracas, St Joseph yesterday morning.

According to reports, around 11 am last Saturday, Guerra told her boyfriend Dillon Huggins, she was leaving their home at Moraldo Trace, Sam Boucaud Road in Santa Cruz, to take her male friend’s teenage daughter to the mall.

Her boyfriend claimed that he went hunting and reported her missing when he returned home on Sunday and she was nowhere to be found.

Guardian Media understands that hours before Huggins and relatives reported her missing, her 36-year-old male friend from Curepe, whose daughter she was supposed to meet, committed suicide at his home.

Homicide detectives later learned that the man and two Venezuelan nationals were briefly detained by police, near the area where Guerra’s body was eventually found, around 9.30 pm on Saturday night.

Sources said police officers, who were on mobile patrol in the area, stopped the three men, who they claimed were acting suspiciously.

The men claimed that they were having car troubles and they were released after being quizzed by the officers.

Sources said that with the assistance of the T&T Police Service (TTPS) Cyber Crime Unit police were able to detain one of the Venezuelan men who was seen in the company of the suspect.

On Wednesday, officers of the Maracas, St Joseph Police Station and Northern Division Task Force (NDTF) searched a forested area off Acono Road for Guerra but only found her blood-stained handbag with some of the possessions still inside.

Guardian Media understands that around 8.20 am yesterday, the officers, accompanied by members of the Hunters Search and Rescue Team led by their commander Vallence Rambharat, were led by the Venezuelan national to a site near a river located 300 metres off Santa Barbara Road in Maracas, St Joseph.

Police sources said the man was “very co-operative” and that it would have been virtually impossible for police to find the burial site without his assistance as they believe that the handbag was discarded at a location 12 kilometres away in order to throw investigators off the trail.

They also revealed that the man, who remained in police custody up to late yesterday, claimed that he and his fellow countryman did not murder Guerra but were merely hired as gravediggers­—to dig the grave.

When a news team from Guardian Media visited the crime scene yesterday morning, police officers were seen searching around the grave and in the river for clues and evidence.

Guerra, whose body was in an advanced stage of decomposition, was identified by police officers before her relatives arrived on the scene using the description of the clothing that she had left home with and a unique tattoo on her thumb.

“She could not be identified facially,” a police source said.

Investigators are said to be waiting on the results of an autopsy at the Forensic Science in St James before determining her cause of death.

Speaking under the condition of anonymity, one member of a family, who owns the property on which the body was found, said that his family did not notice any strange activity in the area over the past few days. “I really hear the dogs barking last night but I didn’t know is all that,” he said.

He claimed that his family and villagers used to lime and cook at the site before the closure of rivers due to the Covid-19 pandemic but since then the area was used as a “lovers’ spot” by strangers coming into the area.

“The place does be dark in the night. We only have one street light,” he said.

In a brief interview after he was brought to the scene by police officers, Huggins said when he returned home from hunting on Sunday afternoon and Guerra was not there he was not initially suspicious.

“I know she was not a sleep-out girl,” he said.

He claimed that he attended a neighbour’s birthday party and returned before the 10 pm curfew but began calling relatives after she did not respond to texts on her phone.

Asked whether he was aware of the nature of the relationship between Guerra and the man, whose daughter she was allegedly supposed to meet, Huggins, who was in a relationship with her for the past six months, said he did not know.

“She was always a loving person and on good terms with everyone,” he said, as he noted that she was due to celebrate her birthday on November 24.

One of Guerra’s friends, who was among the first to arrive on the scene and only gave her name as Alana, claimed that Guerra was working at a casino after years of working at a TGI Fridays restaurant.

She said that she and other friends were happy that her body was eventually found.

“At least we get some closure with this,” she said.

Sgts Robert Wellington, Sgt Ramjohn, Cpl Darvin Didier, and PC Rudy Maharaj led the team of officers who found Guerra’s body.

Police are continuing their investigations are yet to determine exactly what transpired and why the Guerra was killed.