Relatives question Freeport man’s death: Hit-and-run or murder?

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Justin Dean’s body was found in a bamboo patch along the Sir Solomon Hochoy highway on June 17. –

A frantic family search for a missing Freeport man ended in grief on Monday after Justin Dean’s body was found in a bamboo patch along the southbound lane of the Sir Solomon Hochoy highway, Freeport.

Dean’s older brother, who asked not to be identified, said he and his wife left the family’s Nelson Road, Freeport home earlier to search for Dean.

Dean, 20, was reported missing on around 2 am on June 17 after he failed to return home from a lime with his friends.

He was the youngest of four children and lived with the family at Nelson Street, Freeport.

On Sunday, he celebrated Father’s Day with his dad, attending the Freeport Pentecostal Church to present him with a gift. A family gathering at the family’s home followed.

Dean and several friends decided to extend the Father’s Day celebration with a lime and cook in the evening.

He left the family home, which is located near the Highway Roti Shop, to run an errand. His mom called him around 11 pm. He was still alive and the two had a conversation.

Around 2 am, when his dad checked his room, he was still out. The worried dad did a quick scout around the area without any luck.

His brother then contacted captain Vallence Rambharat of the Hunter’s Search and Rescue team and the police.

In a brief telephone interview, his distraught older brother related what happened.

“On Monday morning, my wife and I went in search of him, on the eastern side, on the western side. We went to get video footage to see if that could lead us to him.

“I don’t know if he was accustomed walking in that area. I was looking for him, and around 12.30 pm, I found him. I don’t know if he was in and accident or if he was murdered.

“When I saw the body, I just started to bawl and scream and cry,” he said.

Rambharat told the Newsday Dean could have been a victim of a hit-and-run accident.

He said Dean’s body was found about ten feet from the highway in a bamboo patch. There was blood on his face, hips, legs and other parts of the body. He could not say if any marks could constitute violence.

“What appears to have happened is that he walked right past the roti shop and crossed the highway to go to a bar on the other side. People said around midnight, he left to cross the highway to return home.

“It appeared he may have been struck by a vehicle,” Rambharat said.

An autopsy will determine the cause of death.

Investigations are continuing.