Were five people really tricked out of their money – and their lives – by sorcery?
Strangely, the victims were soaked in sea water...
It wasn’t the accident that killed her when she lost control of her car.
The official cause of Radha Maharaj’s death was cyanide poisoning, and she’d died while driving.
Strangely, when she was found, her clothes were sopping wet with sea water.
Even more bizarrely, while Radha was dying, her husband was dying, too, 16 miles away in a roadside ditch.
He, too, had fallen victim to cyanide poisoning. And his clothes were similarly soaked.
It was 18 November 1988, just after 9.30pm. Radha and her husband Krishnadath had always lived on the tiny Caribbean island of St Croix.
They ran a small shop with their two adult daughters. And, just months before, they’d taken out a loan of $25,000 (around £18,000) to expand the business.
Perhaps they’d run into trouble on the repayments. That’s why police thought they might’ve taken their own lives. …
Except they weren’t the only small business owners who’d taken out a loan.
Edsel Striden and Carmen Torres had, too, to the tune of $54,000 (£40,000), to expand their beach-front bar.
And, just like Radha and Krishnadath, they were both dead soon after. Edsel was found dead behind the wheel of his truck. Carmen was by the roadside, close to where Radha had perished.
The cause of death was, again, cyanide poisoning. And their clothes were soaked with sea water…
Four years earlier, on 24 May 1984, there’d been another death. Haig Caesar, 38, had been found in exactly the same circumstances. And the $100,000 (£75,000) he’d taken as a loan was missing… Police soon found that the money Radha, Krishnadath, Edsel and Carmen had borrowed was also missing.
Further investigations revealed Radha and Krishnadath had been getting phone calls from an unknown man.
Whenever he called, the couple would ask their daughters to leave the room. So whatever was being said was to be kept private.
But why were all the victims soaked in sea water?
In many traditions salt is used to repel evil. Because, while evil brings decay, salt preserves. So had the five victims doused themselves in salty water because they were scared of something evil?
When questioned by police, Haig’s wife said her husband had taken out the loan to pay an obeahman – a practitioner of witchcraft – to remove evil spirits.
Obeah is the Caribbean word for witchcraft – for evil magic, sorcery, the invocation of supernatural powers to destroy enemies.
It has similarities to voodoo, and has been outlawed since 1760. But some still practise it, still believe. Were the five victims among them..?
Haig’s wife said an obeahman had told her husband there were three jars hidden on the island, each filled with gold, and guarded by evil spirits.
For a $100,000 fee, the obeahman promised he would remove the evil spirits, and the gold would be Haig’s.
Could Haig have been
driving to find his treasure when he’d suddenly died?
Was the man who’d been making calls to Radha and Krishnadath the obeahman? And had they and Edsel and Carmen also been looking for the gold when they’d died..?
It could explain why the places where Radha and Carmen had died were so close geographically.
Surely, the best way for the obeahman to escape with the money was to eliminate potential witnesses.
So perhaps the obeahman had told the victims to douse themselves with salt water as a precaution – and to drink a special potion that he’d laced with cyanide…
But no obeahman was found on St Croix. So was he a conman pretending to know the ancient witchcraft in order to trick his victims out of their money and lives?
It’s been 30 years since those five unsolved deaths.
Whether they were down to sorcery or not, whoever killed Radha, Krishnadath, Carmen, Edsel and Haig seems to have got away with it.