(Trinidad Guardian) After a long and unsuccessful night searching for his 14-year-old daughter, Rio Claro father Vishnu Persad was shot dead at his home yesterday. While investigators said they have no suspects as yet, Persad’s family blamed his murder on a former family friend, who they believe has the teenager.
Persad, 36, his wife Rehana Singh, 39 and two daughters had just returned to their Mahabalsingh Trace, Navet Village home around midnight before tragedy struck.
Singh said they left Persad in a hammock and were in the house when they heard an explosion. On checking, she found him slumped over a bench, bleeding from his nose and mouth. It appeared that the suspect hid behind a shed and shot Persad.
Rio Claro police led by Insp Doodnath Jankee responded, but on arrival, they found Singh embracing Persad’s body. She said in an interview yesterday that they went to Mayaro on Saturday night to search of their daughter Shivani Persad. She said they dropped all three children to school on Wednesday, but when they returned in that afternoon, Shivani could not be found.
A report was filed with police and people have reported seeing the child with a 25-year-old man in several places in Mayaro, even buying groceries.
However, she said checks at his relatives’ home were unsuccessful.
“A few months ago, he (the family friend) approached us, and said that he liked her. We said she is a young girl, she is going to school so she cannot study any boys right now. We told him if he wanted, he could wait or he could move on,” Singh said.
Last July, she said Shivani left school to spend the day with the man and they reprimanded her. She said the man never showed any resentment and reported to work up to last week.
A check on Facebook showed that Shivani changed her profile name to match the surname of the man and there was a picture of the two hugging each other. Bricks and bags of cement laid in the shed where Persad was killed.
Singh said Persad was planning to upgrade their home. Now a single housewife, she does not know how she was going to provide for her family. It was the second tragedy she suffered as her former husband was stabbed to death 16 years ago.
Last December, Persad’s brother Bhimraj was murdered and his decomposing body was found in a forested area off Oudan Trace, Ecclesville. No one was held for that crime.