“Moms no disrespect but these bullets are for Cheeky. I am going to kill him,” he said to her.
Twenty-four hours later, Jeffery’s son, Adio “Cheeky” Cudjoe Julien, 30, was being fished out of a pond on an agricultural access road off Berridge Trace in South Oropouche, a short distance from his home. His throat was cut and he had been shot and dumped in the water.
Jeffery said her son and the man who showed her the bullets had been friends from childhood, however, they had a falling out, but her son never told her what it was about.
Shocked neighbours and farmers of the rural agricultural community gathered, talking in hushed tones about Julien’s killing. A woman who knew Julien very well said, “He was a real cool fella, real quiet, he don’t interfere with nobody.”
Police had to call on farmers cultivating vegetables to use their water pumps to drain the pond to retrieve Julien’s body. It was a scene reminiscent of the search for kidnapped businesswoman Vindra Naipaul in a pond in Longdenville, five years ago.
Three pumps were brought in and when the pond was finally drained, Julien’s body was found on his side, clad in a three-quarter pants, in the muddy water. His throat was slashed leaving a huge gaping wound and his left knee cap was almost blown off by a gunshot. Investigators believe he was killed and then dragged to the pond and dumped. They said there was no way Julien would have been able to walk after he was shot, and suspect at least two persons would have been involved in the brutal killing.
Julien was single, had no children and lived at home with his mother and five siblings. He was the breadwinner. His mother said he worked with a family who cultivated agricultural crops.
The chilling series of events leading up to the murder began unfolding last Friday when Julien and his childhood friend had an argument. Although relatives said it was not a “big quarrel”, police investigators believe the argument was over drugs.
Jeffrey, 51, related how shortly after 7 pm, on Tuesday, the man, who had gone to school with her son, arrived at her house and showed her two bullets telling her he was going to kill her son. She said she did not report the threat to the police because she did not believe the man, who is from Dow Village.
“I didn’t believe him,” she cried, “I know he and my son good long time. I even told him, ‘how you could do that? I just lost my mother on Mother’s day and you coming to tell me that’,” the grieving woman said.
She said when her son arrived home she told him what the man had said, but he did not reply. “Is he (son) watching me and I watching him, but he not saying anything,” Jeffery said as the tears rolled down her face. “He (the friend) and my son went to Fyzabad Composite together. We call him Goff.”
On Wednesday evening, at about 7.10 pm, Jeffery said her son got home and dropped off a parcel from the grocery containing bread, a pair of rubber slippers and a can of fly spray. “He just opened the back door and rest it on the washing machine and walk out,” she said as she recalled the final moments before his murder.
She said he began walking up the road in the direction of the pond. She said she watched him until he disappeared from her view and then seconds later she heard a loud explosion. “I tell my other son, I hear a gunshot and your brother just leave, let us go and see if anything happen to him.”
Jeffery said she and her son did not have a torchlight and had to use the light from their cellphones to guide them as they walked along the pitch black agricultural access road looking for her oldest son. “I called out to him, “Cheeky, Cheeky, is your mother, answer your mother boy, but he didn’t answer,” she moaned.
As they walked along, Jeffery said she saw a trail of blood and they began to follow the trail which led them to the pond near the side of the access road. Julien’s body would later be discovered in the pond.
Unable to locate her son, Jeffery said they returned home and called the police. Although the police responded shortly after they had to wait until morning to drain the pond to retrieve the body.
The bereaved mother said she stayed up all night waiting to hear from her son, but all she saw were police vehicles passing up and down the narrow road, but they never stopped to tell her anything. South Oropouche police said at about 9.20 pm, on Wednesday, while out on patrol they received a report of gunshots being heard at the agricultural access road off Berridge Trace and responded.
They said about 200 feet into the access road they saw a pair of brown leather sandals and a red and brass coloured Winchester 12-gauge cartridge on the ground near the sandals. The report said there was blood on the sandals and the bushes. Police said they followed the trail to the pond which is about eight to ten feet deep. Investigators said the young man was ambushed as he walked along the road to visit a friend.
Julien had visited the friend earlier and said he would return before going home to drop off a parcel. He was killed on his way back to his friend’s house. Julien’s body was viewed by DMO Carmona who ordered it be removed to the Forensic Science Centre, St James where a post mortem is expected to be conducted today. A party of officers from the Southern Homicide Division, South Oropouche CID and crime scene investigators from Siparia along with acting ASP Daljitsingh visited the scene. Constable Milford Prince from the South Oropouche CID is continuing investigations.