What she got instead was death.
A country-wide search by police, soldiers, cadaver dogs, relatives and hunters ended yesterday when the 25-year-old woman’s decomposing body was found in a shallow grave in some bushes in Santa Flora.
According to a police report at about 11 am, four men who were hunting for iguanas in the forests 156 metres off St Clyne Road in Santa Flora came across the shallow grave with sections of Simms’ body protruding from the loose earth. A report was made to the police and a team of officers including detectives from the Homicide Investigations Bureau visited the scene along with the district medical officer (DMO).
Simms left her Rampersad Trace, Rochard Road, Penal home last Saturday to meet with a man whom her relatives knew only as Mr Kenny about a possible job.
She told loved ones she was going to meet the man at a restaurant in Penal. Two weeks ago, she was laid off her job as a waitress at an establishment where Mr Kenny was a regular customer.
CCTV footage in the Penal restaurant showed that Simms did meet with the man and had lunch last Saturday at 1 pm.
Simms was found yesterday fully clothed and clad in the same outfit she wore last Saturday. A 31-year-old Siparia yam vendor is currently assisting detectives in their investigations.
The area where Simms’ body was found, police said, is a short distance from where the suspect lives. A police report stated that on Sunday relatives reported her missing to the Penal Police Station.
A search was carried out between Sunday and yesterday when the gruesome discovery was made.
Sgts Harripersad, Khan and Mohammed and Cpl George along with officers of the South Western Division Task Force, Mounted and Canine Branch and Anti Kidnapping Unit were all involved in daily searches in the dense forests. Simms would have celebrated her 26th birthday next Tuesday.
Yesterday as news spread through the village that her body was found, villagers arrived near the crime scene and huddled under the shade of a tree discussing the incident. A resident recalled seeing the suspect at 4 pm on Saturday walking with Simms. “I saw her personally, she was a real nice looking girl. He was passing and he called out to me as he walked with her...I answered him.
He called me out for me to notice him walking with this nice-looking girl,” said the man.
The villager added that he knew the suspect as a baby and feels he (the suspect) has brought shame on the quiet community.
“We never had this kind of thing here.” At 3.20 pm yesterday, Simms’ mother Nafeesa Simms, aunt Homaida Ali and other relatives arrived on the scene accompanied by police officers. Simms remained in a police vehicle.
Speaking to reporters, a distraught Ali said no person deserves such a horrific death adding that lawlessness at all levels is now the order of the day in the country. Because of the advanced state of decomposition, police and the DMO could not ascertain cause of death. The body was later removed to the Forensic Science Centre in St James where an autopsy is expected to be done today. The suspect remains in police custody.