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Turks & Caicos makes New York nightly news for a murder investigation going nowhere; Club Med named in $10M Lawsuit

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By Deandrea Hamilton

Editor

 

#TurksandCaicos, June 6, 2022 – The Family of Marie Kuhnla believes a Coroner’s Inquest has been called to change the record on the way the Long Island attorney died; the Medical Examiner in 2018 listed the cause of death as manual strangulation.  If however that is altered to accidental, then, says the friend of Kuhnla who was on that ill-fated trip nearly four years ago, it would mean everyone who is culpable gets off and gets away with the brutal killing of Marie.

These loved ones have vowed they will not let that happen.

It is yet another murder investigation by the Royal TCI Police which is being publically slammed for the sheer insensitivity of how the case is being managed.  From a lack of communication, to accusations that the murderer was allowed to walk away and leave the country without being charged and that the family’s devastation at the shocking news was frustrated by extreme delays and stone walling by the local police department.

Her son and the NBC New York news team travelled to the Turks and Caicos to attend the inquest in person and have been reporting on the matter.  Viewers are repeatedly hearing the heartbreaking details and the suspect handling of the murder investigation.

Kuhnla’s son says he thinks everyone is unconcerned about the family and only concerned about the tourism reputation of the Turks and Caicos.

Over years and even in recent weeks, the Royal TCI Police has suffered scathing reviews coming from devastated loved ones who publically criticize the Force for a nonchalant approach to their heartbreaking losses.  While the cases are all different, happening on different islands, to different people, at different times – the way police and tactics are described is unflattering, nearly identical in each case.

The inquest, says the NBC report, comes in the middle of a $10 Million dollar wrongful death lawsuit against Club Med, allegedly for colluding with others to as the family has said, cover up the facts of the crime.  Where Kuhnla’s body was found and how she died and naturally, who killed her have all been questioned.

A Long Island man, who was a guest at the time of the killing, who was also an ex-employee at Club Med was reported for sexual harassment by one of Kuhnla’s friends, who was on that trip.  Helma Hermans, also an attorney, tells the news team, she believes Yucallo had something to do with the brutal murder where Kuhnla was beaten and then strangled.  Fractured rib, dirt in her lungs, abrasions to the neck, were all outlined in various reports from authorities.

It took the family three years and a private investigator to see those reports.  It took them two years to get Marie Kuhnla’s body; it was horribly decomposed.  It devastated her husband.

Still no arrest and the suspect, Frank Yucallo was interviewed, named as a person of interest but eventually all charges were dropped.  Someone paid his bail and he is now residing back in NY, says the media report.  The loved ones of Kuhnla worry that the way she died could be changed as a result of the inquest.

Helma Herman says “the world is watching.  The world is watching.  If they’re afraid of bad publicity for their island it can’t get much worse than this.”

Crime

Police shooting leaves 14-year-old boy dead; Father speaks out

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Wilkie Arthur

Freelance Court Correspondent

 

#TurksandCaicos, May 21, 2024 – The grieving father and community members in Dock Yard, long before official confirmation, informed Magnetic Media that the individual shot and killed by the police in Snake Hill, off Millennium Highway, Blue Hills, Providenciales, was “ToTo,” officially known as 14-year-old ANTORENS DORCELY.

Permission was granted by the father to disclose the child’s name as he is deceased.

After reports of the shooting and robbery on the night of Tuesday, May 14th, 2024, Medical professionals on the scene confirmed to Magnetic Media that a young male was fatally shot by the police.  While initially believed to be between 15 or 16 years old, further investigation revealed that 14-year-old Toto had not been seen or heard from since the night of the incident.

According to the first official press release from TCI Police; they were fired upon in a marked police vehicle and returned fire at a reported stolen car, resulting in the death of an individual.

Over the following days, police issued two additional statements regarding the fatal shooting.  One statement mentioned two separate robbery reports in the Blue Hills vicinity on the same night.

This reporter received a voice note from a woman claiming to have been robbed of her car and valuables by two gunmen around the same time the boy was killed by authorities.

Police mentioned in one of their statements that multiple individuals fled the scene that night, but they did not mention recovering a firearm.

Videos obtained by Magnetic Media showed a small orange car with bullet holes and shattered windows, while no damage was observed on any police vehicles.

The father, although acknowledging his son’s involvement in crime, expressed disbelief that his son would shoot at the police, tearfully stating that he didn’t believe the police had to kill his son.

Community members disclosed that Toto turned to crime to support himself and his younger brother after their mother’s death.  Residents expressed a desire for the surviving brother to be relocated to a better environment and offered support to ensure his well-being and education.

Toto and his surviving brother, said to be 11 years old were born in the Turks and Caicos, and their tragic circumstances raise questions about the use of lethal force.

Magnetic Media conducted an extensive investigation, including interviews with the deceased boy’s father and community members.  There were visits to the shooting scene at Snake Hill, and examination of the alleged stolen orange car, which is now impounded at the police compound.

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Crime

Male Charged with Robbery

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#TurksandCaicos, May 13, 2024 – Detectives of the Serious Crime Unit of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force have charged a man who allegedly stole a vehicle.

The accused, DANVANTE  BRISCO, 30,  of  Kew Town, Providenciales, was charged with:

  • One Count: Robbery
  • One Count: Taking Motor Vehicle Without Authority
  • One Count: Using Offensive Weapon to cause fear

Mr. BRISCO appeared in court today (May 13 ) and was granted bail of $7500.00 with one surety.

The matter was adjourned to July 05 for a Sufficiency Hearing.

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Crime

Dock Yard Male Charged  

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#TurksandCaicos, May 13, 2024 – A 20-year-old Dock Yard male appeared in court today (May 13th) charged with a series of firearm-related offences.

The accused, JAMES SIMON, was denied bail and remanded into custody pending a Sufficiency Hearing scheduled for July 05th, 2024.

Mr. SIMON faces the following charges: 

  • One Count: Robbery;
  • One Count: Gang Membership
  • One Count: Possession of a Firearm for the Benefit of a Gang
  • One Count: Possession of Ammunition for the Benefit of a Gang.

The charges against Mr. Simon followed investigations by officers of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force into a robbery at the parking lot of a Casino where three males robbed a victim.

Additionally, Mr. Simon is charged with the following offences, having been arrested on May 02nd, 2024, along South Dock Road.

  • One Count: Possession of a Firearm
  • One Count: Possession of Ammunition
  • One Count: Unlawful Entry

Officers also charged a teenage minor who was in the company of  Mr. Simon on May 02nd with One Count of UNLAWFUL ENTRY. 

The accused, seventeen and from Kew Town, Providenciales, pleaded guilty and will be sentenced on May 20th.

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