BVI News

‘Bad smell’ led to the discovery of missing man | Grief grips family

By Esther Durand, BVI News Staff

When Direau Ricketts got a tip from the police that there was a stench emanating from a bushy area in Horse Path, he knew he had to divert his search crew to the origin of the smell. He was, however, hoping it was not the decomposing body of his missing brother, Junior Peters.

The search party, which included Governor Augustus Jaspert and members of the Jamaican Association, had intended to go to Balsam Ghut that day.

Speaking to BVI News on Tuesday, Ricketts said authorities had previously searched the area but, this time, it was the scent that led them to make the horrifying discovery on the afternoon of July 3.

“It smelt bad. So we converged on the smell, and we started to cut the bush and when we reached about 90 to 100 feet downhill … I was hoping that the smell wouldn’t be him. I was really hoping because I really wanted to find him alive,” Ricketts told our news centre.

He said a man named Jasper, a few friends of his, and the Governor — who was said to be right behind — discovered the body.

“I couldn’t stand up, I had to sit down. A few persons took me back up the hill,” he said while recalling the moment of the discovery.

A brother, son, wife overcome with grief

But Ricketts is not the only family member hit hard by his brother’s mysterious death. When it was time to officially identify the body with police, Ricketts said Peters’ son was given the task. 

The son was, however, unable to muster the strength to do it so Ricketts was asked.

“I don’t know where I got the strength from to do it, but I went and did it,” he stated, adding that while the body was in a state of decomposition, he was still able to recognize his sibling.

“He was swollen but his blue shirt, I knew his blue shirt that he always wore and his features were still there. I could remember when he was young, a bee bit him and his face was swollen just like that. It wasn’t pretty at all, it really cut me deep,” he admitted.

My brother didn’t deserve to die in that way

As it relates to the next step going forward, he said the family has not yet decided whether Peters will be cremated or buried. He said the wife of his late brother, who is living in Jamaica, is still in a deep state of mourning.

“She is distraught right now, she couldn’t talk to me yesterday when I was talking to her. The family are totally broken up to see such a nice person go like that. The way he died, he wasn’t deserving of that death,” the grieving brother stated.

In the meantime, Ricketts thanked all who assisted in the searching for his brother, noting that “where the body was, it was very difficult to see”.

Death still being investigated

Peters was last seen in the Horse Path area of Tortola Saturday, June 27, engaged in landscaping activities at a private residence. 

“His tools/machines and other items were located at the house and a substance believed to be blood also seen,” a police-verified statement circulating on social media read.

The circumstances of his death are still being investigated.

Copyright 2021 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.


Disclaimer: BVI News and its affiliated companies are not responsible for the content of comments posted or for anything arising out of use of the comments below or other interaction among the users.

  1. Connie says:

    RIP Junior. I still can’t believe you’re gone. To the family take comfort in God as you navigate the difficult road ahead.

    Like 18
  2. Don’t know family says:

    But my heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.

    Like 12
  3. Weird says:

    I am sorry for your loss, but why wasn’t the area he worked at searched thoroughly?? Why search all the way up Balsam Ghut?….weird

    Like 5
    Dislike 9
    • @Weird says:

      It’s easy to sit on a device and type s**t all day. Do you think it’s easy searching through thick bush trying to find someone? In most cases like this sadly, it’s the scent of the dead body that leads searchers to their location. Imagine searching the bushes near where someone was ‘supposedly’ last located with no other clues, it’s not as easy as you think. Condolences to his family!

      Like 18
      Dislike 5
      • Searchers Grieve says:

        So many people in the he community, Police, Fire Fighters, EMTs, CERT, VISAR, K9 Teams, Civilian Volunteers, family, friends and colleagues – we all give ourselves over to a search effort. Exhaustion, Heat, Emotions, Family and Job Responsibilities weigh heavily . Please be kind in your remarks. Unless you are there, in the bush with us, you have no idea the toll. The island only SEEMS to be a small place, until you are 10 feet from a missing soul, and cannot see them in the he bush. Thanks to all my hose who give their time and their heart to search, in the hopes that we might bring them home.

    • @ Weird says:

      I also didn’t understand why they were headed to Balsam Ghut.

      Thankfully he was found within a week’s time and though it doesn’t make the grief any easier, I pray for his family’s comfort.

      Just don’t let that one funeral home who dealt horribly with the man who lost his wife to Covid-19 handle the arrangements.

      Like 3
      Dislike 2
  4. I know him as Peters says:

    I gave him many rides home to Carrot Bay in the past years, always talkative, positive, cheerful and respectful. Really sorry to hear this sad news. Condolences to his family and loved ones. RIP Peters.

    Like 23
  5. Will agree says:

    I have given him rides home also and he was so nice and friendly always had a smile on his face and something nice to say.I am just baffled and confused. RIP in peace dude and my sincere heartfelt condolences to his family and friends. Truly sad. You don’t forget people like him.

  6. Earl says:

    Sad and hope he did not suffer…
    Couldn’t drones be used for these searches on the hillsides ?

    Like 9
    Dislike 3
    • @Earl says:

      Yea, because drone cams can see through thick trees and brush!

      Like 4
      Dislike 2
      • Look Deeper says:

        Perhaps infrared technology, mounted on a viable drone platform will one day present a viable option for SAR in the bush. It’s a matter of investment and commitment.

        • FEO Gomez says:

          Look deeper in your scull because there is NOTHING there. You HAVE TO BE ALIVE TO REGISTER A HEAT SIGNATURE MORON!

  7. No nonsense says:

    Its time the government invest seriously with the UK for special training in many of our departments. Like police, health, fire department etc. Or better yet do an exchange of officers. Could you imagine an earthquake and people trapped, think of that. Them all aint shitz together. Thank you governor for caring 😉

    Like 5
    Dislike 1
  8. Co-Worker of the pass says:

    Work together in the pass we will greet each other as toppa top I remember him telling me about that bee story r.i.p my friend toppa top

  9. Sad end says:

    Such a sad ending to his life. Why is nothing being said about cause of death?

    Like 3
    Dislike 1
  10. Concerned says:

    Condolences to the entire family and the community as a whole.
    We hope the Police Force will work hard to fish out the culprits that cause the death.
    May his soul rest in peace.

    Like 3
    Dislike 1
  11. Secret Bear says:

    Because it’s still being investigated, as the article says.

Leave a Comment