Police reissue appeal for tips on Chavelle
The family of a woman believed to have been murdered are suffering a “very traumatic experience” as questions over her disappearance remain unanswered, a detective has said.
Detective Sergeant Jason Smith added that police still hoped to find Chavelle Dillon-Burgess, whose toddler son was left without the “comfort, affection and love” of his mother.
He said: “I can recall meeting with the family on a couple of occasions and they were quite distraught.
“As an investigator with some 30 years' experience, it was very, very touching. You really could feel their pain.
“I know they're grieving, I know that they have, and they continue to, suffer both physically and emotionally great pain as a result of this loss.”
Ms Dillon-Burgess was last known to be in contact with close associates or friends almost six months ago, on April 11.
She was reported missing by her mother on April 30, about two weeks before her 27th birthday. Ms Dillon-Burgess was last seen at her home on Hillview Road, Warwick.
She worked at the Fairmont Southampton and was a newly recruited Royal Bermuda Regiment soldier.
Sergeant Smith said police continued to keep the disappearance in the public eye because of the gravity of a murder investigation and for the sake of Ms Dillon-Burgess's family, including her two-year-old son.
He added: “There is not only a mother, a grandmother, uncles and aunts, but there's a son.
“There's a son who's being raised, growing up without the comfort and affection and love and guidance from his mother.”
A source close to the family said yesterday that the situation was “heartbreaking” and the relatives of Ms Dillon-Burgess needed answers.
They pleaded with anyone who has relevant information to talk to police.
The source said: “Don't be afraid. Come out and speak out because we are human beings and only have one life to live.
“Nobody in the world — I don't care who — nobody deserves anything like this.”
Sergeant Smith said: “It is a murder investigation and that means that we are investigating it with a view of, one — trying to find or define the circumstances of what exactly happened to her, and two — to bring to justice those persons or person who was responsible for her murder.
“One of the priorities was and is the searching for her, but we are also appealing for witnesses and members of the public who would have or might have seen her or seen any kind of suspicious activity.”
He added: “Obviously we are saying that she's been murdered, so we don't expect people to have seen her now, but it's the activities prior to her last being seen or heard from.”
Sergeant Smith said that police often received “various tips, even advice” from callers and that investigators were “systematically going through a process of searching” for Ms Dillon-Burgess.
He added: “There's nothing new that's come to light as far as her being found, but the investigation is continuing as far as piecing together the circumstances under which she went missing.”
Sergeant Smith said that there were daily meetings about the case and he highlighted a $50,000 reward still available for information that led to the location of Ms Dillon-Burgess.
Sergeant Smith said: “We have regular meetings with Chavelle's family where we update them. We have a dedicated search team and co-ordinator.
“We are liaising with agencies both in Bermuda and outside of Bermuda to get assistance where it's needed.
“We have had regular meetings with the Department of Public Prosecutions to update them on the status of the investigation and where we're going.”
He added that a 39 year-old man remained on police bail after he was arrested in connection with the suspected murder of Ms Dillon-Burgess in May.
Sergeant Smith said that the BPS was in also in talks with a police force in Britain.
He explained: “They have a similar case that they investigated and so we are liaising with them, just to basically get some advice from time to time on different strategies, what they did.
“The UK case is a case that did go before the UK courts and the person was convicted, so it's good to partner with a force that has similar previous experience.”
Sergeant Smith added that the case in the southeast of England involved a woman who went missing and a body was never found.
Sergeant Smith said that search teams — including Falco, a specialist cadaver dog brought to the island in June to help in the investigation — worked “east to west and everywhere in between”.
He added: “It's a fairly complete island-wide search.”
The Bermuda Coastguard has also been involved in the search. Sergeant Smith said: “We live in a small community and very often we know that there are lots of people who have information and who know what goes on in this community, and in particular, in the criminal world.
“We would like to appeal to the conscience of those individuals to make contact with us. It can be done confidentially, anonymously, but the message and the key is to talk to us.
He added: “Very often it doesn't really matter until it hits home and it becomes personal ... to a particular family or friend who grieves and suffers the loss of a loved-one through tragedy.
“So we would say, let's make this case personal. Come forward and talk to us.”
• Anyone with information that could help the case can contact Detective Sergeant Jason Smith on 717-0864 or the anonymous and confidential Crime Stoppers hotline on 800-8477