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Gunmen spare children

Published:Tuesday | October 3, 2023 | 9:05 AM

Authorities and local residents are perplexed by the motive behind a recent quadruple murder in St. Catherine. The shocking aspect of this tragedy lies in the gunmen's decision to allow the children present in the house to escape unharmed. Reportedly, the youngest among them was placed in a stroller along with personal belongings. Unfortunately, the four adults inside the residence at the time fell victim to this horrifying incident.

Cops search for answers after 4 killed in Crawle

27 Sep 2023/Ruddy Mathison/Gleaner Writer ruddy.mathison@gleanerjm.com

THE TRANQUIL community of Crawle in Riversdale, St Catherine, was plunged into shock and disbelief as the horrifying details of a quadruple murder unfolded on Tuesday morning.

The victims – a mother identified as Dorothy Higgins, believed to be in her late 60s, her 45-year-old daughter, Kerrian Higgins McGrath; their household helper, 38-year-old Dianne Nicola Johnson and her spouse, identified only as Kevin, met a gruesome end within hours of Higgins’ return from overseas.

Five children, the eldest 13, who were in the two-storey house at the time were unhurt. They were reportedly told by the gunmen to leave with some belongings.

A neighbour who made initial contact with the children told The Gleaner that they were terrified and could not utter a word.

“You could see that they were afraid and crying, the youngest one in the stroller was covered in blood,” said the neighbour.

Residents had mixed reactions to the tragic murders while expressing how the unusual, violent incident has rocked the community. Some described Higgins as a good person who was a former schoolteacher.

“Ah the first this ever happen in we quiet community. She is a nice, decent lady. She go to the Baptist church in Bog Walk and when she doesn’t want to go to her church she come to Prophecy where I attend,” one resident said of the woman known as ‘Miss Brown’ in the community.

“Mi nuh find no fault with Miss Brown. Miss Brown a good woman.”

Others mentioned that the family, who were primarily livestock farmers, kept to themselves and had minimal interaction with the community members.

“Them behave like them better than we. Because them have money them look down on us,” said one resident, a revelation that garnered the approval of several others who had converged near the crime scene.

Adding to the mystery was the revelation that Higgins McGrath’s spouse had died suddenly last Friday while she was away. The cause of his death remains undetermined, according to the police.

Neighbours told The Gleaner that it was the second time Higgins McGrath had seen a spouse meet an untimely death in recent years.

It was suggested by individuals with whom The Gleaner spoke that the murder of the mother and daughter could be rooted in a family feud and that Johnson and her spouse were silenced because they were witnesses to the brutal acts.


Despite the speculation, the police said they were yet to establish a concrete motive for the killings.

Senior Superintendent of Police Stephanie Lindsay, who is in charge of the Corporate Communications Unit of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, urged community members to come forward with any information they might have.

“It is early in the investigation. There are no leads. They are picking up bits and pieces of information. We are looking at their profile to see what we can determine,” Lindsay said while visiting the scene.

She remained tight-lipped about whether unused licence plates found at the property had any relevance to the probe.

Kerensia Morrison, member of parliament for St Catherine North East, who visited the scene, told The Gleaner that, from what she gathered from constituents, the incident is “bigger than the community”.

Andrine Higgins, the People’s National Party’s representative in the constituency, decried the murders and called for a deep introspection on how families can resolve issues.

In the meantime, Senator Peter Bunting, shadow spokesman on national security, said the Opposition strongly condemned the “tragic and senseless” homicide and called for anyone with information to make it available to the police.

“The loss of three women and one man in the same household serves as a grim reminder of the daily insecurity that plagues Jamaicans,” Bunting said, adding that the country has become desensitised to the pervasive crime rate.

Lindsay meanwhile said the children were now in the care of the police while efforts are ongoing to locate family members.

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