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Aug 4, 2020

Family of Keona Ara Fears that They Won’t Get Justice for Her Murder

Keona Ara

The family of murder victim Keona Ara is crying out for justice tonight. The eighteen-year-old was killed in a most savage way and her body set on fire and later found at a dumpsite by a caretaker in March 2017.  Two suspects have been charged and one is now on bail.  The horrific murder has haunted the family and tonight, Keona’s mother is crying out for justice. Here is News Five’s Duane Moody with a report. 


Duane Moody, Reporting

Teakettle residents Shaylon Santos and Jamie Patnett were charged back in 2017 for the murder of Keona Ara and have been on remand for over three years. But on July thirtieth, Patnett was granted Supreme Court bail of thirty thousand dollars after attorney Dickie Bradley argued that the crown has not been able to produce any forensic evidence against his client which has caused a delay in the start of the trial. Justice Colin Williams adjourned the case to December 2020, but not before giving bail to Patnett with restrictions. The decision came as a shock to Ara’s mother, Sherlene Mai.


Sherlene Mai, Mother of Deceased

“It mi supposed to start, but then it get held back because of some forensic thing in the court. And from there, they said it was scheduled for December. I was in court last Tuesday and when I was in court, the attorney for the guys got up and request that the person get bail. The magistrate turned it down. It wasn’t agreed and then from there I left and the guys went back to prison. And then from there, lo and behold my phone was ringing off the hook on Saturday morning, the first one call me was Keona godmother and she told me, “Gial, you hear that one of the accused is out?” I tell ahn neva. Ih say yes, I will send you the footage one time. Then I say this cannot be happening and lo and behold, yes it is true; he is out.”


She was stabbed multiple times to the back and stomach and her throat slit before her body was set on fire.  On March eleventh, 2017, the body of the eighteen-year-old was found burning at the Belmopan Dump Site by a caretaker, on routine patrol. Her upper body and face were burnt beyond recognition, but it was tattoos on her left arm that Mai identified as that of her daughter’s. Tonight, the family of Ara fears that they won’t get justice for murder.


Sherlene Mai

Sherlene Mai

“As a mother, I tell you I am just floating around; I cannot find comfort, I cannot find rest. To sleep in the night and know your daughter is like…her room was close to mines and whenever you hear that time of the night come, like I would expect to see my child back in her room and she is not there anymore. And to see what is going on is really sad, it is painful. Then you go to the station and ask what is going on with the case; yo go upstairs and talk to them and all of them say I am not on the case, I just get transfer here. I aware of the case, but I know nothing about the case. They got you like a real rollercoaster, yo wonder when it will stop and Miss Mai this will be the answer. When I was in court Tuesday, when I left, I learnt that this December, when they come back to court will be the final. If they do not got their act together, the next guy will come out.”


Ara was a fourth form student at Saint Ignatius High School and was to graduate later that June after which she would have enlisted to become a B.D.F. soldier. But her life was cut short and those dreams vanished.


Sherlene Mai

“I am a mother. Two girls I had. Keona was eighteen at the time; Keona had dreams, Keona had goals. Keona said mom, I want to join B.D.F.; that was taken away from me. How you think I feel? Then I go and ask for answer with the people I believe, who I have trust, who I got confidence in and none of them could give me an answer and say Miss Mai this is what is going on, this is what will happen. Nobody can’t tell me nothing.”


Sherlene Mai says that she and her family are in fear of their lives because two weeks prior to her murder, Keona’s life had been threatened. She says that a report was made to the police, but the statement could not be located.


Sherlene Mai

“All this could have been avoided because the guys they came right at my gate and told me they will eat my daughter. And I told my daughter, Keona we noh take threat lightly. Eat could mean any kinda way and I know ih mi eighteen and probably dah neva wah boyfriend thing. So I tell she get ready mum, we gwen dah Belmopan station to make a report. I went and I did that. I did it with the O.C. who was in charge at the time. I went upstairs and I did another statement. When I went back to the court, lo and behold that missing; the statement gone missing. And the following two weeks after the guys told me that, my daughter turn up dead.  I hope they know what they are doing because now my life is in the prosecutor hand and in the magistrate’s hand. That’s where I see my life right now and my family’s because Teakettle to Blackman Eddy is not far and if that person is out at Teakettle, am I suppose to sit here and thing now?”


Duane Moody for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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