During a massive search exercise, involving 248 personnel from the Police Service, Fire Service, Defence Force and members of the Hunters Association two separate sets of skeletal remains – believed to be human – were found in the thick forested area off the Heights of Aripo.
After the decomposing body of Andrea Bharatt was found on Thursday and the discovery of human and animal remains on Friday morning many members of the public called on the police to carry out more searches as they fear the Aripo area was nothing but a dumping ground for criminals.
According to police, a single bone was found around 12:55 pm on Sunday down a precipice off the Aripo Main Road.
Less than an hour later around 1:55 pm, a resident alerted the party of officers conducting what was dubbed operation Aripo Sweep- spearheaded by DCP Joanne Archie and Supt Rishi Singh – that he spotted a scattering of bones at the bottom of a steep decline off the Main Road. The residents escorted officers to the scene where the bones were recovered. Officers said the bones bore some resemblance to human bones in varying states of decomposition.
Officers said the bones were found about two miles apart from where the first set was seen.
The District Medical Officers ordered the removal of the bones.
The bones were subsequently taken to a funeral home before being transported to the Forensic Science Centre on Monday morning where they will be tested.
Speaking with the Guardian Media on-site on Sunday, a member of the Hunters Association, said they were all emotional to return to the area after Andrea’s body was found.
“We are all heartbroken following Andrea’s discovery and to return here we are all very emotional but we are of the belief that yes the area has become a dumping ground for criminals,” the hunter said.
He said the massive team was able to search about 12 kilometres of ground and found heaps of skeletal remains not too far off from where Bharatt’s remains were found strewn down a precipice.
“We cannot say yet if human or animal but several samples were taken to be carried to Forensic for testing. We will have to await the results,” the hunter said.
A resident in the area, who operates a small parlour and who spoke under anonymity said since Thursday the hilly village has been tense.
“People frequented the area to go to the waterfall close to where Andrea’s body was found but since then nobody going up. Even by me here there’s a river that people go to and they park their cars by me and I would watch it for them while they go to the river to bathe or lime but nobody has come since.”
The resident described the area as “generally safe” but added that it is scary as there are no street lights.
“Every election come and go the people who want our votes coming in the dark to talk to us. Only promises and no street lights up to now. The place does be real dark.”
The woman’s husband said he strongly believes the area is a dumping ground.
“Yes because they feel they can dump because it dark and nobody catching up with them so they feel it safe to continue to come to dump again so yes the criminals passing through,” he said.
Meanwhile, the investigation into Andrea’s murder continues and an autopsy is expected to be done today to determine how she met her death.