Murdered Venezuelan’s mother: ‘They killed him for a cellphone’

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Massiel Guilarte (left) and Yenni Troya (right), the sister and mother of Jassiel Guilarte, 20, are seeking justice over his murder. – Photo by Grevic Alvarado

The relatives of 20-year-old Venezuelan Jassiel Guilarte, who was found dead on the M2 ring road, La Romaine, on Saturday afternoon have asked the authorities to investigate and bring those responsible to justice.

At around 12.06 pm on Saturday, an anonymous caller made a report about the body to the Southern Division Operations Centre. CID officers on mobile patrol found the body in a remote bushy area on the east side of the dirt road.

Yenni Troya, Guilarte’s mother, identified him at the Forensic Science Centre, St James on Monday.

His face was disfigured and he also had some stab wounds. He was identified by the tattoos on his back, neck and left arm.

Speaking to Newsday on Tuesday, Troya said her son had left her house to sell a cellphone.

“They killed a young boy with many dreams and goals over a phone,” said Troya.

She asked mothers and fathers to put themselves in her place for a moment and feel her pain.

“Just as it happened to my son, it can happen to anyone who seeks to grow and progress. We all have the right to live. It must be investigated and justice must fall on the murderers so it does not happen again.”

The relatives of Jassiel Guilarte (20) cry when they see his photo on the mother’s phone. – Photo by Grevic Alvarado

She said Guilarte arrived in TT on April 10, 2019 along with friends and neighbours from Buena Vista, Anzoategui, Venezuela. He completed high school before coming to TT.

“He was still a child when he decided to leave our country looking for opportunities to help our family,” Troya said.

She arrived here a few months earlier, as she needed to take care of the family. She also has a daughter, Massiel, 24, who is also here.

“His father had died and I had to leave Venezuela. Later he decided to come to see how he could help.”

Since he arrived he had worked as a construction labourer, in gardening, and sometimes selling cookies he baked himself.

“He loved TT and he learned to have a lot of affection for the people…He respected his traditions and he learned the English language very well. He was very loved by the older adults where he came to work,” said his sister.

She said they were very close, remembering him through tears.

“We don’t know why they did so much damage (to him),” said Massiel.

Guilarte left his house at Church Street, Duncan Village, San Fernando last Friday at 2pm. It was the last time they saw him.

He wanted to sell an iPhone to pay off a debt, Troya said.

Guilarte received a call from a supposed buyer. He left on his bicycle, on which he used to travel around the area.

“My children and I have always had communication. He had to go home quickly because he was to instal security cameras in the house with a friend. At 2.50 pm when I saw he had not arrived, I sent him messages on WhatsApp, but he did not receive them. That worried me. He never turned off his phone.

“Saturday morning we decided to go look for him. We went to the hospital and the San Fernando police station, but he wasn’t there,” Troya said.

Massiel Guilarte (left), sister and Yenni Troya (right), mother, last saw Jassiel Guilarte on Friday at 2:00 pm at his home on Church St, Duncan Village, San Fernando. – Photo by Grevic Alvarado

They also sent messages to WhatsApp groups to try to get information. On Saturday night they returned to the police station to file a report.

On Sunday at 7 am Troya received a call from the police, who said they had found a body that matched the description she had given them.

Guilarte’s personal cellphone and the one he wanted to sell have not been found.