Members of her family were haunted by rumours of her demise long before the half-naked body of Saadia Byron was discovered just yards from her Laborie home. She had been reported missing one day earlier. She was 32 – two years older than her brother, Chris Byron, who passed out at the sight of her body covered haphazardly with large stones.
“We grew up together,” he told me at a restaurant in Castries. He’d taken the day off work and was fielding interviews ahead of going back to Laborie to be with his family.
He recalled getting the horrifying news of his sister’s disappearance while he was at work, and having to tell his supervisors he needed to leave because there was trouble at home. He was on his way when a fellow bus passenger suggested his sister’s body had been found.
“I didn’t believe it,” he told me. “The person said they’d gone to see my mother. I told her Saadia was my sister.”
More calls throughout the day, with more speculation, proved the need to intensify efforts to find Saadia. Chris, his brother, some cousins and others in the area set off on a search mission. When Saadia’s body was discovered later in the day, they immediately called the police.
“I was crying, and wanted to literally go to my sister,” Chris said solemnly. “To touch her . . . but I passed out. I ended up at St Jude’s Hospital. That’s how intense and damaged I felt.”
Saadia’s younger brother described her as loving, kind, and hard-working: “She’d wake up early in the morning and, when you asked for her, she’d either gone to buy bread or gone on the farm to get stuff. “You can say my sister was everything. She was a farmer, carpenter . . . just name it. My mother didn’t raise us as little soft children; she raised us to do everything for ourselves just in case she wasn’t around. She was just that of kind of person, always smiling. She’d go all out for her children, and not only her children.”
Saadia left behind three children, 7, 12 and 15 years old. Though the children had lost their mother, Chris felt
they would be in good hands. Family members were willing and able to take care of them.
“We can take care of the children,” he repeated, adding that he was more concerned about his sick mother. She
was having a hard time coping with the bad news. As for the rest of the family, the dead woman’s brother said: “The pain is terrible but we have to bear it.”
He recalled the last time he saw his sister. They had enjoyed a relationship filled with banter and jives, and he’d seen her just two weeks ago in Castries, near the Gros Islet bus stop.
“I shouted to her in Creole, ‘Go at your home!’ and she shot back: ‘Why don’t you shut up and go to work!’ We laughed, and I left her speaking to one of our cousins. I sent her a message after that to check on her, asking if she was still in town. She told me she was on her way home, and that was the last time we spoke.”
Though no one had been arrested for the murder of Saadia Byron, Chris had some choice words for the monster who’d stolen from his sister her right to life: “You cannot bring my sister back; there’s no way if you try to bring her back she’ll come back. I just want to know one thing. Why was it done? Why was it done to my sister? Why? What was the motive? That’s what I want to know. Apart from that, I would ask him, in an event like that, what should I, as a family member – her brother – do to him in return. I cannot take his life in return, but what does he think I should do? Trust in the law or should I take it in my own hands?”
Two men were arrested this week in connection with the incident but no charges have been laid. One of the men is reportedly a former boyfriend. The other is a known sex offender.