Jamaica police probe Canadian woman's slaying

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Associated Press

Posted on January 13, 2014 at 7:36 PM

Updated Monday, Jan 13 at 8:01 PM

KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — Jamaican police said Monday they have no suspects in the slaying of a 53-year-old Canadian woman who was murdered at her rental home about a month after moving to this Caribbean country.

An autopsy found that Shirley Lewis-McFarlane died of asphyxiation and blunt force trauma during an attack in her rental house in Discovery Bay, a north coast tourist town. Her body was found Dec. 30.

St. Ann parish Police Superintendent Yvonne Martin-Daley said four people have been questioned in recent days but there have been no arrests. She said investigators were awaiting forensic tests so they can "take it up a notch."

"We are still going through asking the necessary questions, following the necessary leads, and hopefully we'll have a breakthrough as soon as possible," Martin-Daley said in a phone interview.

Friends say the Aurora, Ontario, woman fell in love with Jamaica about 14 years ago and moved to the island just about a month ago. She was previously married to a Jamaican man.

Police haven't said what the motive may have been for the killing, but son Shawn Gavigan told the Toronto Star newspaper that he believes she "got mixed up with the wrong person" and was killed for money.

In an email to The Associated Press, daughter Jasmine Gavigan said the family is "a little frustrated at the seemingly slow pace" of the investigation.

"We understand that Jamaica may not have the resources available in Canada, but two weeks into the investigation we feel there is more we could know," Gavigan said.

Some 1,200 people were slain last year in Jamaica, an island with 2.7 million inhabitants, compared to 1,097 in 2012. The conviction rate for homicides is just 5 percent. Tourists are rarely the victims of Jamaica's violent crime problem, however, and placid resorts along the island's scenic coastlines are nearly crime-free.

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David McFadden on Twitter: http://twitter.com/dmcfadd

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