34-year-old Mervin Humphrey Jr. was found lying in a yard on Haulover Creek Street in Belmopan on Thursday afternoon. He was rushed to the Western Regional Hospital where he later died. We were told that police were classifying it as a sudden death; however, as we told you on Thursday, the family said they wanted an investigation into the incident as there were some strange injuries on Humphrey’s chest. Over this weekend, a post mortem examination was conducted on the body and according to the results, Humphrey’s died from several swollen organs, due to brain and pulmonary edema due to superficial first degree burns under investigation. His mother, Linda Humphreys spoke to us today about the results.
Linda Humphrey, Mother of Mervin Humphrey: We did the post mortem on Friday, my son died on the Thursday. We did the post mortem on Friday and found that the burns that he had were severe burns, and that these burns caused all his organs to shut down. His brain was swollen, and they were trying to figure out what caused the burn. So doctor Estradaband recommended that the case stayed open until they found what caused it, and who did it, so that’s where we are now.
The family is more inclined to believe that some sort of foul play was involved. The mother says that a witness has informed them that a car was at the scene where her son’s body was found but when she went back there, it was gone. She tells us more.
Linda Humphrey, Mother of Mervin Humphrey: The police messed up the case already, because we went to the house, a lady came out, she said that my son was in the car, the police look at the car and my son was way at the gate. They guided me to the gate, they had a camera on the house so we asked them to check the camera. They went in and came back out and said that the lady said that the camera is not working. What do you mean the camera is not working? They are the authority, take it for yourself and see that it’s not working. The car was there, they did nothing with the car, no finger print no nothing I went back there in the evening and the car was gone.
Linda says that the police need to investigate the case thoroughly. Today, Senior Superintendent Howell Gillett spoke about the case.
Howell Gillett, Officer Commanding Belmopan Branch: Our officers, we got the call sometime around 11:30am on Thursday. Officers were immediately dispatched to the area, I believe it’s on Haulover Creek St. here in Belmopan where we discovered Miss Humphreys. He was in a lying position face up with two beers to his side. There were marks in areas that were not clothes. That appears to us as being sunburn marks. An autopsy was done and it revealed that he died from multiple organ failure due to the superficial first degree burns that he had. Having that knowledge of the autopsy, we went and got the additional information, as a matter of fact we have video footage of the store that he went to to purchase alcoholic beverages. At the time, around 10:30, this is one hour before we found the body, he appeared to not have any marks. So between 10:30 and 11:30 – we also have statements from those who saw him when he went into the store saying he didn’t have any marks. We also have statements that show there was no contact with anybody on the street between the store and when he collapsed in the yard on Haulover Creek Street. So we in the Belmopan Police, we are very comfortable in saying that hi death was not of a result of being harmed by anyone else.
Polcie say they have enough reason to believe that Humphreys was under the influence at the time and even though the police believe that it was due to natural causes that he died, OC Gillett said that the investigation remains open and they remain open to any new information available.
Howell Gillett, Officer Commanding Belmopan Branch: We have to be cognisant of the fact that family members are believing otherwise. We’ll have a separate entity that will decide to see if it’s the same way we’re thinking based on the evidence we have. So what we will do, we will put the file together and then we will dispatch it for legal opinion and then maybe, if so decided by the DPP office then there could be a coroner’s inquiry or a coroner’s inquest, whichever so the office so decide. That is the moment that will bring the family closure because we have a duty of care to the public and we want them to be satisfied with the job done by the police especially in time of a loss of a family member.
Linda Humphrey, Mother of Mervin Humphrey: An appeal to the public out there because to me, Belmopan people have a tendency that if they see something happen, they will not come forward and say it. And today it’s me, it could be you tomorrow. I’m appealing, I put up a post on facebook and asked if anyone saw what happened to my son. Come forward come. If you don’t want to go to the police then come to me and tell me what happened.