Winston Charles’ family has yet to come to terms with his death. The body of the 37-year-old man from Anse Ger, Desruisseaux was discovered on Saturday, June 16 at around 2am near the Micoud Highway.
“He appeared to have injuries all over his body,” a police report stated. “Subsequent investigations assisted police in ascertaining the identity of this individual. He was subsequently conveyed to St Jude’s Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.”
According to police reports, a post mortem on Wednesday June 20 determined Charles died as a result of multiple injuries sustained from a motor vehicular accident.
Close friends and family are not convinced. They list numerous inconsistencies in the hit and run theory surrounding the death of the man better known as ‘Akat’ or ‘Jungle’. For one thing, Charles’ cousin Daina Isidore and his aunt Mado also from Anse Ger say no family member was allowed to witness his autopsy.
Mado remembers speaking with Charles on Friday, June 16 when he stopped by her shop on his way to ‘Guamontagne’ a popular entertainment stop in Micoud.
“My mother and I were there and he told me he was going,” she said. “He stayed a good while talking to me, then he told me he would come to church with me on Saturday. He never went to church but he decided he would go with me because he knows I would want to go. He left and continued down the road. The next thing I heard was on Saturday, just after two in the morning that someone knocked him down. My sister came to my home and told me that.”
Upon arrival to the scene of the accident Mado recalls seeing a body on the road, but could not tell whether or not it was her nephew.
“I asked the officer whether I could see but he said nobody could cross the line until the doctor pronounced him dead,” Mado retells. “I felt sad because I could not see if it was him or not. They said it was him, but I didn’t see him.”
A trip to the police station followed where she along with other family members were questioned about the last time they saw the dead man and significant conversations they might have had with him. Charles’ family was told they’d be able to identify the body on the day of the autopsy.
“I went on the Wednesday and when we went there we saw him,” she said. “The police officer made my nephew sign even before he’d seen the body and identified it. I thought that was wrong. When Dr King, the pathologist came he told us we could see the body so we went. I asked him whether I could stay inside while he performed the autopsy, he said the officer would let me know but he didn’t have a problem. The officer told me no, it was just him and the doctor that had to be there. I think that was wrong. They took pictures and when they came out the police came to show us the pictures and I said I’m not watching that because I’m there live and you didn’t let me see, so you cannot show it to me on a camera! I know when they’re doing these things one of the family members or two have a right to be there. So why don’t you want one of us to be there? I don’t understand. I left and I don’t know what the doctor said. They told the rest of the family it was an accident, and the vehicle dragged him. I don’t see that.”
“I don’t see it was a vehicle that knocked him because of the way he was looking when I saw him,” she explained. “I don’t know what happened. I saw his neck cut. They said he got that through the accident. That was the only part of his body that was cut. If it was a vehicle that dragged him, to me his body would be in a worse state.”
In the community, Charles was a well-respected labourer who earned a living gardening, making coal and doing other odd jobs.
“He worked all the time,” Mado told the STAR. “Sometimes you wouldn’t even see him, he had his little house. Akat was a very nice guy; the only thing is that he would drink his rum sometimes on weekends. He was jovial and loved to dance. If he was going up the road and I called him, he would come back to hear what I had to say. He called me ‘Nen Nen’, he called me ‘Mum’. I am his aunt and I love him. Every minute I stay there I am crying because I know something is not right.”
When the STAR visited the family this week Charles’ best friend Benjamin seemed completely out of it. He was having a tough time dealing with the unexpected tragedy and when he finally spoke he said he’d known Charles for a long time and they went everywhere together.
“I feel bad as this happened,” Benjamin said. “We went out on Friday, but he went before me and I met him there. I got to Micoud and I don’t know what happened, we were outside the dance… He was drunk so I told him let’s go up. He told me he’s not going so I left. He didn’t want to go home, I don’t know why. That was at about 8pm.”
From the family’s perspective, too many questions remain unanswered. They issued an appeal to anyone with information to come forward.
“We want the person who did that to him to say it was an accident,” Mado implored. “We all know accidents happen. If you stay behind we will not feel good because it’s like he died, but how can we know how he died? So naturally it would be in our head that someone killed him. If someone said it was an accident and they were the one who did it, we would be able to let go. Whoever did that to him, run him over, kill him or whatever, they can come forward and talk to us. We will understand. We will take our pain but we would understand he’s gone and we’ll go on with our lives. Anyhow he died, something went wrong, but if someone knows about it, don’t hide. Don’t be scared. Just come forward.”
After doing her own personal evaluation of the scene on the night in question and examining her cousin’s lifeless body before the autopsy, Daina Isidore says things do not add up.
“We’ve seen people who’ve been knocked down before and the way his body is, to me it’s someone who did that to him and placed him on the road. The way I see it, where they placed the body, if a vehicle had truly hit him there, there’s is no way you’d find the body on the roadside like that. There’s a corner before you get the body. When a vehicle is coming from the direction of Vieux Fort— he was on the side there. If a vehicle hit him there I think you would find parts of the vehicle and you would not find him on the road the way they found him, with one of his legs fold up making a cross under him. I think you’d find him in the drain or somewhere around, not on the side of the road like that.”
She added: “The cut he has under his throat, I don’t see no vehicle doing that. For a vehicle to do that you would have to find parts of the vehicle. He had a rubber choker in his neck with a cross on it. If a vehicle hit him we’re supposed to find that thing there! We didn’t get it. Something is wrong.
“I don’t believe Akat gave anyone reason to do that to him, whether he was truly knocked down or killed. Knowing him he’ll drink, laugh, play around, but when it comes to fighting I don’t know him to be a person who’ll get into fights. I wish to know who did it. I believe if the post mortem just told us someone killed him, we’d get some sort of relief from our pain. We need the public to help us find the person who did this. I think I’ll feel much better if I know they have that person. It’s hard for his life to go like that and nobody be held responsible. The person who did that to him, I think they have a conscience too.
The time for judgment to come, I hope they are able to face their judgment because people don’t take another person’s life away like that, with no cause. It’s sad to know his life ended that way. I don’t like this, but this is the way we got it, so we have to accept it.”
Investigations continue into Winston Charles’ death. Anyone with information is asked to call the Micoud Police Station or the nearest police station.