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Sep 13, 2023

Police Charge Youth with Murder Two Months On

Juliana Rhys

In early July, there was a murder of an elderly woman in Dangriga that slipped under the radar when it was classified as a “Death Investigation” and didn’t garner much media attention. But on Tuesday of this week when police informed that they had charged someone with murder in connection with the incident, it raised a few eyebrows. The murder occurred inside the victim’s house on Magoon Street, and while the arrest offers little comfort to her family, they were quietly hoping that, at least, the person responsible would be brought to justice. As they told us today, their loved one, seventy-nine-year-old Juliana Rhys lived alone and was trusting and giving to the family of the youth who stands accused of her murder. News Five’s Marion Ali reports.


Cecilia Serrano

Cecilia Serrano, Sister of Deceased
“Yesterday, I felt so bad, I felt so depressed when I heard the news. I was disappointed, I was ashamed, ashamed of what I heard.”

Marion Ali, Reporting
Ashamed is what Cecilia Serrano feels, not for her deceased sister or her family still mourning their loss, but for the person who is charged with the murder. Serrano told News Five today that her sister, seventy-nine-year-old Juliana Rhys was a kind person to the family of the youth who police have charged with her murder.

Cecilia Serrano
“I know he was close with her. He used to go there, his mother would send him over and give her food because, you know, she was taking good care of her. She was doing her laundry, especially after her house burned (down). She had moved over there to stay with her. And, she was doing things for her, wash her clothes, cook for her, and after she moved, she still sent food for her.”

Serrano’s husband, Rudolph says the family, as do the police, believes the motive of the homicide was robbery.

Rudolph Serrano

Rudolph Serrano, Brother-in-law of deceased
“They suspected robbery.”


Marion Ali

“Were things missing from the house?”


Rudolph Serrano

“Yes, there was stuff missing, especially from her personal purse, her bag. They suspect it could have been money.”


Rhys’s body was discovered inside her house on the morning of July fifth, some days after she was last seen alive. Her church sister and neighbour told us off-camera that they were close and that they were there for each other.

Voice of: Neighbour
“We have neighborhood watch. We always keep an eye on our neighbors, and whenever I go out, I ask if she needs anything. And when we go to church, we go together, I give her a ride. She was with me when my mom died. She stayed with us for a while. As a good friend, a good neighbor, we miss her.”


The family had been trying to reach the deceased and when no one had seen her, her brother-in-law decided to go and check.

Rudolph Serrano
“First I approached the neighbor across the street, and I asked her if she had seen her, and she said, “No, I haven’t seen her a couple of days, but maybe it’s because of the weather,” because we had some severe weather around that time. So, leaving her house, I went into the yard and then I saw my sister-in-law’s cane at the foot of the stairs, so right away I knew that she was inside the house. So, I took the cane and I went up to the porch and started rapping on the blinds, but then I noticed a lot of house flies, you know, coming out of the window, and I realized that there was an odor, there was something definitely wrong. So, I called the police and they came and they sent for the specialists and broke open the door and when they opened the door, they found the body.”


Essein Jabari Castillo

The post mortem examination revealed that Rhys was stabbed multiple times to the neck. And on Tuesday of this week, police formally arrested and charged nineteen-year-old Essein Jabari Castillo with her murder. Marion Ali 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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