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JM | Jun 21, 2022

Clarendon massacre victims, person of interest identified as Holness & Chang denounce killings

Gavin Riley

Gavin Riley / Our Today

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Commissioner of Police Major General Antony Anderson (blue centre suit) leading a high-ranking review of the initial crime scene in Cocoa Piece, Clarendon after five persons, a mother and her four children, were killed in the early hours of Tuesday, June 21, 2022. (Photo: Facebook @JamaicaConstabularyForce)

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has condemned the brutal quintuple murder that this morning (June 21) rocked the quiet, rural community of Cocoa Piece in Clarendon.

In a statement from the United Kingdom, ahead of his trip to Rwanda to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, Holness expressed “heartfelt condolences” to the bereaved family of 31-year-old Kemisha Wright, whose lifeless body was discovered alongside her four dead children in the community.

The other victims have been identified as 15-year-old Kimana Smith, 10-year-old Shemari Smith; five-year-old Kafana Smith and Kishaun Henry, a 23-month-old infant.

The prime minister decried the murders as “an act of savagery, barbarity and brutality of unequal proportions”.

“The entire country is today feeling immense pain following these bloodcurdling murders, which show extreme contempt for the sanctity of life, and is especially devastated that young, innocent children were viciously cut down,” he said.

“I express [my] most heartfelt condolences to the family and loved ones of Ms Wright and her children and commit to taking every step to finding and thoroughly prosecuting those responsible for these horrific murders,” added Holness.

Speaking at a joint select committee in Parliament this morning, Minister of National Security Dr Horace Chang also joined widespread condemnation of the Cocoa Piece massacre, assuring that the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) will bring the perpetrators to justice.

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On the scene in Clarendon, Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson said that one person of interest is already being sought in relation to the crime.

“We’re pursuing who we think may be involved; there’s someone who may be able to help us with the investigation. One Rushane Barnett, o/c ‘Jet’,”

According to the commissioner, Barnett, 23, is known in the area but also frequents Wilson Run, Trelawny and Papine in St Andrew.

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Anderson told media personnel that Barnett is a cousin of the deceased and the police are urging him to turn himself over to the security forces. Additionally, Jamaicans who know of his whereabouts have also been encouraged to contact the authorities at the Crime Stop 311 hotline.

Preliminary reports from the JCF’s Corporate Communications Unit, the family of five was found with their throats slashed in the early hours of Tuesday.

As investigators scour the crime scene, a motive for the murders has yet to be established.

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