DURING a power outage on the night of October 16, 2019, two men abducted Cedros resident Janelle Teeluck.
Teeluck, 41, was in the gallery of the house of her neighbours—a sister and brother whose physical ailments left one barely able to see, and the other struggling to speak.
The elderly siblings were unable to identify the two men who called out to Teeluck before they dragged her down the front staircase, just as the power went out.
They wept as they recounted the horrific episode to her family, friends and police investigators.
“They called her by her name. They said, ‘Janelle, it is you we come for. We want to talk to you’,” Janelle’s sister, Samantha Teeluck, said, as it was told to her when she spoke with the Express this week.
Wearing tactical clothing and wielding cutlasses, the men made their ill-intentions known when they went to Bois Bourg village that night.
They took $1,400 and two cellphones from the ailing brother and sister before they grabbed Teeluck.
The old man was in a bedroom downstairs where they confronted him, beat him, then took him upstairs. They forced the siblings to lie on the ground, then stripped them of their cash and cellphones.
Shadows and light
After one of the armed men dragged Teeluck away, the other stood by a back door until his accomplice called out to him sometime later.
One of the men’s last words, “We finished. Time to go,” shattered the darkness and Teeluck’s loved ones forever.
Teeluck had gone to the house to deliver eye medication to the 61-year-old woman with cataracts, as a favour to the woman’s daughter.
“Even though they wanted to help us and the police, they could not,” Samantha Teeluck told the Express. “When the brother went to the police and tried to give the officers a statement about what happened, they told him they could not understand what he was trying to say. They told him to bring back someone to the station with him who could explain what he was trying to say,” she said.
“And his sister, Tanty Sheila, said she could not see who took Janelle that night. Because of cataracts, she could see only see shadows and light. She heard their voices but she could not even describe the faces, and then the electricity went out. She told us that she stood by the window, hoping to hear Janelle, at least screaming for help, but there was nothing,” said Samantha.
“Although the electricity returned about 11 p.m. Tanty Sheila was too afraid to go outside, and she stood by that window until daylight. Her brother went out to his nieces and got help. I don’t know how he explained it to her—if he wrote something on a piece of paper or use signs, or what—and they called Tanty Sheila’s daughter, Lisa, and the police,” said Samantha.
Cedros police officers responded and combed the crime scene.
Grief and the grave
Samantha Teeluck received a phone call around 11 a.m. that her sister was found. While searching around the premises, the body was discovered about 40 feet behind the neighbour’s house.
The multiple chop wounds to the neck left her almost decapitated. And there was another chop wound to one of her feet.
Her sister said it appeared that Janelle had tried to run and escape, when the cutlass attack stopped her in her tracks.
Samantha Teeluck said her sister had no enemies, but was generous and believed in fairness. She loved people, especially children, and although she was not a biological mother, she cared for her relatives’ children as hers.
Five months after the attack, the elderly neighbour also passed on. She grieved to her death, said Samantha. “She cried every day for Janelle. She never recovered. It hurt her that she could not help do anything to help with the case,” she said.
The brother, also haunted by the killing, moved out of the house and now lives with other relatives.
That night was one of a series of attacks that targeted her sister, Samantha Teeluck told the Express.
On two previous occasions, people attempted to enter the premises by scaling the wall surrounding the house where she lived, and at another, the lock to one of the doors of the house appeared to have been tampered with. The attacks occurred weeks after Janelle was left widowed after her husband, Vishnu Lutchman, 62, also known as “Kenny”, passed on after a battle with cancer.
She had met him when she was a teenager and devoted her life to him for over 20 years, said Samantha.
Janelle had written on her Facebook page to one person who offered condolences on his passing, “I feel very sad that he is no more, but his memories are what’s keeping me alive right now. I’m trying my best to keep strong.”
Samantha said her sister left her job and was fully committed to her husband’s palliative care. She was widowed in July 2019, and three months later, was killed.
Closure, but no Janelle
Her family said they will keep their theories to themselves about her killing. “We are fearful for our lives because whoever did this to Janelle could do it again. The only consolation, if you could call it that, is that we got Janelle’s body and were able to have a funeral. We know so many families continue to suffer as they hope and wait for some clues to find their loved ones’ remains. So at least we had a funeral and we got closure, but we still don’t have Janelle”, said the sister.
The police completely failed her and her family, like so many other families in the country, Samantha said.
“We told the police everything we could, but no one was ever arrested. Our Janelle did not deserve this,” she said.
Anyone with information to help solve the case can contact Homicide Region III at 652-0495, Crime Stoppers at 800-TIPS (8477) or send information to Police Commissioner Gary Griffith by texting 482-GARY (4279), or the TTPS app.