Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Kidnapping of Maryse Cinéus

Her Family Says They Now Live in Fear

by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)

Four men, including a policeman, kidnapped Maryse Cinéus, 36, from her home in Croix des Bouquets on May 12, 2012, according to her family. The business woman is presumed to be dead.

            The policeman involved, Pierre Toussaint Fender, who was also her security guard, was arrested about a week later on charges of kidnapping and murder, the family says. Until now, Cinéus’ body has not been found.

            The family believes that the kidnapping is linked to a land dispute that Cinéus had with a lawyer named Jackie Saint Pierre and an associate of his named Bonhomme. On the day of her disappearance, Maryse met with Saint Pierre, according to her sister Marie Delourdes “Mamoune” Rémy, 43. “Maryse went to Jackie’s office in the morning,” Rémy told Haïti Liberté. “He wanted to make a deal with her. We don’t know what happened.”

            Maryse Cinéus returned home after that meeting. But at about 5 p.m., Fender, with three other men, returned in a white jeep with blackened windows to pick her up. She told her 13-year-old niece Farah Orius, who was home, that she was going out for a while.

            But Maryse didn’t come back that evening. Farah and the other young relatives living at Maryse’s house were worried all night because it was unlike her to leave them alone.

            The three other men in the car, according to the family, were Hervé Brutus, a justice of the peace (juge de paix) who was driving, a local vodou priest (hougan) named Jean-Robert, and another man named Petiel.

            The next day, Sunday, Fender came by the house at around 4 p.m. and asked for Maryse. Farah replied: “Why are you asking me? You left with her yesterday. You are the one who should know where she is.”

            When Mamoune learned of Fender’s visit, she called him to find out what had happened. In a May 18 police report, she said that Fender told her that “he left together with my sister to go to Unibank to get some money that Gasner Dupont, a brother of mine, sent. When I pressed for details, he told me that the same Saturday he had left my sister at 9 p.m. at her father’s house.”

            After Fender gave Mamoune that story on May 13, Maryse’s family began to realize that something very bad must have happened to her.

            Recognizing that family members suspected him, on Thursday, May 17, Fender, who was a policeman assigned to the Security Unit for Agrarian Reform (USRA), went to the home of Maryse’s father, Willem Dupont, who is blind and suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, according to Mamoune. Fender took Dupont to the Croix-de-Bouquets police station to file a report on Maryse’s disappearance, the family says.

            According to family members who saw the report, Fender said that the other three men in the car – Hervé Brutus, Jean-Robert, and Petiel – had kidnapped Maryse and taken 90,000 Haitian gourdes and $20,000. He claimed that as the men put him out of the car, he told them: “You better not kill her.” They replied: “We’re just taking her money. She’s in good hands.” Fender claimed the men then took Maryse to the hougan Jean-Robert’s house.

            The next day, on May 18, Mamoune went with Sheelove Orius, Maryse’s 30-year-old cousin, to the police to report what Fender had originally told her and then how he had taken Dupont to the police to give a different story. “I have come to file this complaint with the police so that all that is legal and necessary can be done,” her police report reads.

            Shortly thereafter, the Central Command of the Judicial Police (DCPJ) arrested Fender, who was jailed at the DCPJ. Mamoune hired lawyer Jean Michel Augustin of the law office of Reynold Georges to file suit against Fender. Fender is now being held in the National Penitentiary.

            While in jail, Fender has told the police to look for Maryse’s body in several places. “But when the police go to the places Fender sends them, they find the bodies of other people,” said Bernard Péricles, who is married to one of Maryse’s cousins. “Therefore, this gang has killed other people and should be charged with several murders.”

            But the family believes that someone other than Fender is really behind Maryse’s disappearance. “Jackie Saint Pierre is the real architect of Maryse’s death,” said Bernard Péricles. “He may well be responsible for all the bodies the police are finding at the different grave sites Fender is revealing.”

            The charge is serious. Saint Pierre is a spokesman for the Lawyers Association of Croix des Bouquets.

            Although lawyer Jean Michel Augustin has requested a hearing to prosecute Fender since June, until now, after three months of delays, no hearing has been held. Each time a date is set, the judge claims he is sick. “One time he was there in October, but he said he did not feel like talking,” Péricles reports.

            Frustrated, on July 7, Mamoune went on the airwaves of Radio Caraïbes and Scoop FM to talk about her sister’s kidnapping. She was surprised to find Jackie Saint Pierre also at Scoop FM. She claims he seemed frightened about what she would say.

            But Mamoune is also frightened. “I’m living in hiding at home,” she told Haïti Liberté. “Men in dark glasses are always coming around my house asking for me, trying to learn my face.”

            “Our family is living in fear,” said Péricles. “Since July, they have been terrorized.”

            Péricles also feels the government is dragging its feet. “The Martelly government must also be held accountable because too many people in Haiti have been kidnapped, killed, and raped,” he said. “In the Brandt case, they only acted because the U.S. embassy intervened on behalf of the Moscoso kids. But who is going to intervene so that we can find out what happened to Maryse Cinéus?”

Four men, including a policeman, kidnapped Maryse Cinéus (above) from her home in Croix des Bouquets on May 12, 2012. She is presumed to be dead, but her body has not been found.

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