Search for Chavelle: murder arrest made

  • police press conference

  • Significant progress: Stephen Corbishley, the Commissioner of Police (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

    Significant progress: Stephen Corbishley, the Commissioner of Police (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

  • Missing person Chavelle Dillon-Burgess (Photograph supplied)

    Missing person Chavelle Dillon-Burgess (Photograph supplied)

A 39-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murdering Chavelle Dillon-Burgess over the weekend.

Police announced the news as they revealed Ms Dillon- Burgess, who had been missing for several weeks, had probably “come to the gravest of harm”.

Detective Sergeant Jason Smith told a press conference on Saturday morning: “It is with a heavy heart that the Bermuda Police Service declare that the disappearance of Ms Chavelle Dillon-Burgess is being treated as a suspected case of murder.

“Overnight, detectives took a 39-year-old man into custody on suspicion of murdering Chavelle.”

Mr Smith added: “We know that news of an arrest in this case will cause anxiety and stress, especially to Chavelle’s family and friends.”

Friends of Ms Dillon-Burgess have not heard from her since April 11.

She had been reported missing by her mother on April 30, about two weeks before her 27th birthday.

Members of the public have joined police officers and Royal Bermuda Regiment troops in searches for Ms Dillon-Burgess, the mother of an 18-month-old son.

Stephen Corbishley, the Commissioner of Police, told the media that police had made “significant progress” in connection with the case.

He added: “It is not the news that I would want to announce to the media because our focus throughout this investigation has been to find Chavelle safe and well, and bring her back to her family.

“Sadly, though, the investigation has indicated that the high likelihood that Chavelle has come to the gravest of harm.”

Family liaison officers are providing support to the family.

The press conference heard police are working with forensic specialists and partner agencies in Bermuda and overseas. Mr Corbishley said that it was not necessary for them to find a missing person to investigate a murder.

He added: “We’re receiving excellent support from police forces overseas that have investigated such matters where the victim has not been located.”

Mr Corbishley said that he had spoken about the case with Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security.

He added: “We both agree that there are things we need to look at beyond just this investigation.

“And while it is too early to talk about it at this stage, I’m referring to aspects of domestic abuse and how we work collectively across partners and as a community to deal with such matters, and to make sure that people who are vulnerable, people that are at risk of domestic abuse, have opportunities to get help and to protect them.

“Because some of those victims often don’t realise the danger they are in.”

Mr Corbishley said that there was concern as to how domestic abuse was viewed.

He added: “Domestic abuse is everybody’s business.

“And it concerns me sometimes that perhaps we’re not as assertive or direct in addressing the way in which some relationships take place, and about protecting people.

“Sometimes when events such as this take place, it’s an opportunity to learn more than it’s an opportunity to blame.”

Mr Corbishley said that he could not discuss what, if any, connection existed between Ms Dillon-Burgess and the man arrested.

He added that it was too early to say if charges were likely to be laid.

Mr Corbishley said that he was “extremely appreciative” of information that had been provided to police by the public.

He explained: “We have all worked together to try and figure out what has taken place.”

Mr Corbishley said that he believed there were people in the community who knew what had happened to Ms Dillon-Burgess.

He added: “Maybe not directly, but they certainly know more than the police know.”

The commissioner said that he also believed that fear had stopped some people from coming forward.

Mr Corbishley pleaded with people with any information to contact police.

He added: “I’m not asking on behalf of the BPS, I’m asking on behalf of Chavelle’s family.”

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