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Argentine forensic anthropologists may help crack killing of Henry cousins, Singh

Last Updated on Friday, 2 October 2020, 5:16 by Denis Chabrol

Joel and Isaiah Henry (Stabroek News picture)

A four-member Argentine team of forensic anthropologists on Thursday seemed set to travel to Guyana to assist with a high-tech investigation of the killing of cousins Isaiah and Joel Henry  and Haresh Singh last month in West Coast Berbice, police, human rights and legal experts said.

The Guyana Police Force (GPF), Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) and Hughes, Fields and Stoby (HFS) law firm said the team is expected to come from the “prestigious” Argentine Team of Forensic Anthropology (Equipo Argentino de Antropologia Forensica-EAAF)

“Engagement of a prestigious team such as EAAF increases the possibility of providing the families of the victims with some form of closure as well as securing a successful prosecution of the perpetrators,” the entities said in a joint statement.

Representatives of the GPF, GHRA and the law firm said a recent virtual conference agreed that the four-member team would include a forensic anthropologist, a forensic pathologist, and a forensic radiologist with the necessary technical equipment that they would bring.According to the joint statement, the team would be in Guyana for one week and then submit a report one month later.

Describing EEAF as one of the world’s foremost agencies in forensic anthropology, the police force, GHRA and HFS law firm said the anticipated outcome “will be an unprecedented collaboration of local, regional and international forensic expertise. They said the EAAF team would build  on the forensic work of the Regional Security System which is currently examining samples from the crime scene, victims and suspects.

“A version of the truth surrounding the deaths which is supported by the best science available locally, regionally and internationally, will also increase acceptance of by all right-thinking Guyanese.  Such a Report would provide a foundation on which to build more harmonious communities both on West Coast Berbice and throughout the country,” the entities said.

President Irfaan Ali earlier this week said the team was expected to take back samples to St. Lucia for testing. The Guyana Forensic Laboratory was also expected to deliver results of DNA tests conducted on samples taken from the boys, the crime scene and the suspects.

The mutilated bodies of the Henry cousins were found on September 6, 2020 on a coconut estate in the backlands of Cotton Tree, West Coast Berbice one day after they had left to collect coconuts to sell. Police later said it was evident that the boys were killed somewhere else and their bodies taken to where they were found. Haresh Singh was killed three days later  and his body found next to his burnt motorcycle at Number Three Village where he had been riding to his farm.

EAAF indicates that since its foundation in 1984, the organization has worked in 55 countries. It is involved with the case over the disappearance of 43 students in Mexico currently attracting much international attention.

EAAF is made up of 70 members with qualifications in different scientific fields, such as anthropology, archaeology, medicine, criminalistics, information technology, biology, and genetics. They work at the different offices that the institution has in Argentina (Buenos Aires, Córdoba, Tucumán) as well as in New York, Mexico, and South Africa.

Since its creation, EAAF says it has remained independent of any government or political party, and is distinguished by its low profile, more involved with actions than with words. Its financing sources are typically European and North American foundations, a number of European states, and, since 2005, the Argentine state.

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October 2020