Hannah’s family learned of DNA results from media

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Aldwyn Girod, the grandfather of Hannah Mathura, at his Butu Road, Valsayn home on April 22. – Photo by Gregory Mc Burnie

The family of Hannah Mathura, whose remains were found in the backyard of her Butu Road, Valsayn home, learned of the results of a DNA test on her remains through the media.

Mathura, 18, was last seen in June 2017.

On March 12, police found remains buried in the backyard of the house after one of her relatives told police she had been killed and buried there.

The remains showed what appeared to be a gunshot wound to the skull.

Police collected the bones and did a DNA test to confirm the identity of the remains.

Lawyer for the Mathura siblings, Sanjiv Boodhu told Newsday they woke up to the news of the DNA results in the newspaper.

He said no-one from the TTPS (Trinidad and Tobago Police Service) had contacted them and any information they had gained was done through the media.

“At this point in time, (we) have all come by the information by way of the newspaper this morning and from no other source. That is to say that the police have not, for the record or at all, informed us of any of their conclusions.”

He said in the absence of any official confirmation, the siblings’ position on the investigation remains unchanged.

“Given that we found out about it in the newspaper, we are yet to conference with the Mathura children and establish a way forward.

“They stand and ready and willing to continue assisting the police in their investigations as best as they can, as they have done.”

The lack of official notification may also be hampering plans for Hannah’s family to give her a proper funeral.

Boodhu said he is unable to discuss any plans for the burial of the remains with the Mathura siblings unless they receive official confirmation from the police.

“We’re really hamstrung in terms of taking any proper instructions or even advising our clients as to whether those things are applicable at all, given the fact that we have no official word from the police.

“If we receive that on the record and from the police, then we will be in a position to advise or discuss those things. But at this stage we really can’t have too much of those types of conversations with them given that the correspondence has to really be coming from an official source for us to act upon it.”

A senior police officer told Newsday the police did not release the information as the results could not conclusively prove the remains were Hannah’s.

The officer said based on the information available the police “deduced” the remains were Hannah’s.

“We didn’t have a sample from Hannah to compare (the remains) to, but the test proved this person is an offspring of Hannah’s parents.

“Seeing as we have birth records and all the other siblings are accounted for and we have no death record for Hannah, we have to deduce that it is her.”

The officer said the cause of death has also not been conclusively determined yet adding while the police have received an expert opinion, they are awaiting further feedback based on a detailed report from the pathologist.

Up until Monday afternoon, Hannah’s family had not yet been officially told of the results.

Grandfather wants justice for Hannah

Newsday visited the home on April 22 after news broke of the DNA results.

The family patriarch, 98-year-old Aldwyn Girod, emerged on one of the balconies of the house at around 10 am and sat in a chair next to a metal table overlooking the yard.

He said his hearing was not what it used to be and invited Newsday onto the compound to speak with him.

Asked his thoughts on the news, he said he “had no idea” about the results as he had not read the newspaper.

Girod said despite not having seen his granddaughter for years, he is hoping he gets justice for her death.

“I want to know exactly what happened. They said maybe she was shot in the back of her head but that’s all I know. I haven’t been down there (in the yard) up to now though.”

Despite never having a relationship with Hannah and her siblings, Girod said it was still a sad situation.

“I didn’t know her. Every night I came to see if they will come and talk to me (on the balcony) but they never came. I sat on this balcony here and saw them on the other balcony. They treated me like a stranger. It was as if they didn’t know that I was their grandfather.”

He also dismissed social media claims of a “curse” on the family.

Another of his granddaughters, Vanna Vee Girod, 30, died two years ago after she disappeared while visiting relatives in Tobago.

The model, actress and singer was reported missing to the Shirvan Road Police Station on January 25, 2022 after she went for a walk and did not return to her aunt’s villa where she was staying.

Her body was found the next day floating in waters off Arnos Vale.

“There can be no curse because I’m almost 99. So there can’t be any curse if I’m still alive.”

Police “awaiting guidance”

Meanwhile, Head of the Homicide Bureau, Snr Supt Rishi Singh said he was unable to comment on the progress of the investigation as police were still awaiting guidance on the way forward.

“There are a number of things that have to come together, from different pieces to advise different positions. The considered guidance would point us in the direction that we need to go.”

Addressing the pace of the investigation, Singh said despite some public sentiment, the TTPS also wants justice for Hannah.

“The inquiry has not ended… The way forward will give the results so that it will be premature to even think that nothing is going to happen in the matter.

“We are positively looking at issues that will progress us to a space where we will have the required evidence to address the matter properly to this country.”