In the early hours of Monday, May 29, the home of Vernon Cuthkelvin and Maira Montejo was invaded by a man who Montejo immediately identified as a resident of the area where they live. Love News spoke with Cuthkelvin who recalled how the incident played out inside their home.
“About 3 o’clock thereabout, I heard a scream; my wife was screaming but it was a type of scream that I had never heard her scream that way before. I knew that it was her. That’s what woke me and I woke up thinking that was her maybe having a nightmare then I heard her scream again. I ran through the corridors to the master bedroom and she was in there screaming that somebody was there in the house. So I searched the house immediately and the doors were properly secured and so I went back with a thought in my head that she must have been dreaming, maybe a nightmare as well. And she was still screaming and she said to me, somebody put a knife at her throat and when she did the motion to show the side of her throat I saw a mark there and that is when I realized she was not dreaming and this is for real. So I immediately figured I have to check all the closets, the beds, the entire office, everything that the only other possible way for somebody to get out was over the verandah. I went out and looked over the verandah. I understand that after having looked downstairs that someone had to come through one of the doors. That was the point of entry so I immediately went downstairs, searched the yard, did not see anybody. I checked with my neighbor downstairs to see that she was secure because I knew that she was alone that night as well. That was what occurred. I went back into the room and spoke with her and she told me, I saw the face, it was in the room. At night I traditionally leave certain lights on; Dangriga bathroom light on, the corridor light on so she had enough visual to see when she said she saw the person.”
The incident happened just before three o’clock in the morning and despite their pleas to the authorities, no one responded.
“I must appeal to the powers that be to try and do something to assist the police in Dangriga because really and truly they could not come to the scene. This is three o’clock in the morning and you’re calling the police station and they cannot respond because of not having any transport which is ridiculous in 2017. Nevertheless that is where I started to check with neighbors and investigate and after she told me who it was and identified the face etc., I knew this was the person I was looking for.”
Cuthkelvin set out to canvas the neighbourhood, speaking to residents nearby and subsequently learning that there several others with similar experiences and no justice.
“A minimum of seven neighbors all gave me their stories, one right immediately across of me of this same individual and this person lives right around the curve and I got the stories recorded, one of our volunteer medical personnel that came here from Cuba who was viciously raped and cut and viciously attacked right in the same neighborhood by the said individual I got the stories of my neighbor finding him in the house with her mother and trying to assault her mother and she visually saw him went after him with a machete and he jumped just like he did from my veranda to cross a fence. I began to check around and I was told about another vicious attack that happened not even two blocks away by a young lady and an elderly lady that was reported way back, a violent attack and the entire neighborhood new of this individual who every time sad to say just like what happened in our case, they called the police to come they and they didn’t; the case two blocks away they called and the police could not come again so we have a pattern developing which is troubling.”
Montejo is the mother of two little girls, she told Love News that she is living in fear and is frequently locking herself in with her children. She says despite the trauma and the report made to police, there was no referrals given to her to get counselling. Instead, she had to seek that on her own.
“For somebody to come in your room lay down beside you and actually put a sharp object to your neck and in the calmest voice tell you not to say anything, I can’t have my children away from me because I feel like something will happen to them if I don’t see them. So at the moment they are at home with me. I can’t sleep, any little noise would wake me up and when I do wake up I actually go and check that all my windows and doors are locked and if my husband comes in my room and tries to wake me up and make sure that I am okay I would jump and start fighting with him because I am reliving that moment over and over again, seeing him on top of me, seeing his face and smelling him. His hands all over me it is not a good feeling and I’m trying my best for my kids to be strong but it’s very hard. It’s very hard.”
“In a situation like this when you went and made the report to the police was there any kind of support system, perhaps a referral to a counselor or a therapist or something of that sort that could help you cope with the trauma.”
“Nope, they didn’t offer anything. When I did the statement I sat down and told me or assured me that they knew him, they didn’t tell me anything like that. I felt like I went in and made a statement and that was it as if it was something of no importance. I took it on myself to actually find somebody because I’m seeing a psychiatrist and I am seeing her, I had to get some medication to keep me calm because I was really hysterical. It’s something that you do not wake up normally to, having a strange person on your bed and honestly when it was happening; I felt him laying down but I thought it was my daughter because it’s not strange to come in my bedroom to come in my bedroom and sleep with me but what woke me up was that he hit himself on the head of my bed and in my mind was ‘oh my baby misjudged the bed and hurt herself.’ When I asked her if she was okay and she didn’t answer me, when she didn’t answer me I tried to get up to help her when I saw this figure and he was trying to hide his face with one of my baby’s uniform and all I saw was him reaching over and I felt the sharp object on my neck”