Identities of two burnt bodies yet to be confirmed by DNA samples

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Charred human remains were found after a blaze in January which destroyed three Nut Grove homes
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Forensic evidence needed to identify two burnt bodies found several months ago has still not been received by authorities in Antigua and Barbuda.

Information Minister Melford Nicholas told media when asked at yesterday’s post-Cabinet press briefing that he could not provide an update.

“We did not get an update from either the Ministry of Health or from the National Security and Legal Affairs on those particular issues,” Nicholas said.

On January 12 2022, firefighters responded to a blaze which destroyed three homes in Nut Grove. Badly charred remains initially thought to be that of an animal were later deemed to be human.

DNA samples were subsequently taken from 44-year-old Michael Cummins to determine whether or not the body was his 16-year-old son Dequan Cummins, who has not been seen since the flames destroyed the pair’s home.

Observer reached out to a member of the Cummins family who said that, two months later, the man is still struggling to cope with the disappearance of his son and clinging to hope that Dequan will be found alive.

Meanwhile, Arthur James remains missing despite some people believing that his body was found burnt in a car last October.

Brothers Zamir and Obasic O’Garro, along with their cousin Uroy Joseph, all of Liberta, are jointly charged with kidnapping James. Last week their case was adjourned by the court until June.

James was reportedly last seen some time on October 28. A missing person report was filed at Freetown Police Station by one of his family members two days later.

Since then, a team comprised of police officers and members of the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force conducted searches in the St Phillip’s and Freetown areas, where a mobile phone believed to belong to James was located.

Local media reports suggested that charred remains of a body found in the Freetown area in a burnt car on October 30 2021 was that of James.

However, police have still not confirmed if the two incidents are related.

According to Assistant Superintendent of Police Frankie Thomas, lawmen are still awaiting the results of the analysis of the body.

“Arthur James is still presumably missing. Investigations into his whereabouts are still ongoing. The police have taken samples from the charred remains and sent overseas for forensic analysis,” the police’s PRO told Observer.

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