Matthew Maharaj, one of two men detained for questioning over the death of Shannon Banfield, was released from police custody on Saturday night.
Maharaj, 18, walked out of Riverside Plaza, Port-of-Spain, with his attorney Criston Williams shortly before 9 pm. Maharaj is still confused as to why he was arrested in the first place.
But one thing Maharaj said after his release was very interesting. He said where Shannon’s body was found, only employees of IAM had access to that area. Shannon’s body was found in a store room on the third floor of IAM and Company, 39 Charlotte Street, Port-of-Spain, on Thursday afternoon.
Maharaj, a customer attendant at I AM Company Ltd, confirmed one thing – THE KILLER WORKS AT THE STORE.
He said he had been employed at the store for six weeks before he was labelled a wanted man in the media following the disappearance and subsequent death of Shannon, a 20-year-old Republic Bank employee.
“I think the entire thing was very unfair because my face was in the media and now people will see that and say I am the man who kill the woman. How I supposed to get a job now? Right now I just want to go home and sleep in a comfortable bed and I wish that this just disappear.”
Maharaj and another employee, Dale Seecharan, were detained by police after they failed to report for work on Tuesday morning. That was the day after Shannon was reported missing, and having visited Pennywise and IAM on Monday afternoon.
Upon his release, Maharaj said he was not feeling well on Tuesday, that was the reason why he did not report for work that day.
Maharaj said he was back to work on Wednesday and remembered asking about the foul stench in the building. Employees thought the stench was a dead rat, but no rat was found.
On Thursday, Maharaj arrived 25 minutes late and was sent back home. Asked where he was on Monday evening, he said he was at work but did not see Shannon at the store because it was a busy day.
As he was leaving custody, Maharaj said, “When I reach home I just want to bathe because I ain’t bathe since Thursday, eat something filling, and get a long lecture from my family,” Maharaj said.
Maharaj said because of the entire incident and the fact that his picture was plastered all over the media, he may be contemplating moving out of San Juan where he lives.
Shannon left Republic Bank, Independence Square on Monday at 4 pm, telling her mother she was going to Pennywise and IAM, both on Charlotte Street. She shopped at Pennywise and then went to IAM. She never left that building. Her mother reported her missing Monday night.
Investigators visited several stores on Charlotte Street and obtained CCTV footage. But they did not get any from IAM until after Shannon’s body was found on Thursday. An autopsy performed on Friday was inconclusive and that a second one will be done on Monday.
But from preliminary reports, it would seem that Shannon struggled with the killer (s). Broken skin was found under her nails, leading police to suspect that her killer (s) were scratched. With the body in a state of decomposition, police were unable to see any marks of violence. They suspect that Shannon could have been strangled during the fight.
Her body was then hidden under some boxes in the store room. Her Pennywise bags, lunch kit and shoes were nearby.
Didn’t the killer (s) know that once the body started to decay, there would be a stench and the body would be found? Is it true that because of the busy store and Charlotte Street, the killer (s) had no time to dispose of the body? Could it be that someone else is involved in this matter?
Attorney Williams said the hierarchy of the Police Service caused irrevocable damage to his client’s character.