Beheaded women: Three arrested
Police in Jamaica have arrested three suspects over the murders of a mother and daughter beheaded during a home invasion.
Six other suspects are being sought for the killing of Charmaine Rattray and her 19-year-old daughter Joyette Lynch on July 20. Police chiefs said that criminal charges were expected to be filed soon.
"We are, I want to assure you, committed to our task and we will continue to investigate as robustly as we can," said Jamaica Constabulary assistant police commissioner Novelle Grant.
The night-time beheadings in a typically quiet neighbourhood on the outskirts of troubled Spanish Town sent shockwaves through much of the island's society.
Authorities said the killings appeared to be related to a power struggle within the Clansman gang, which has been at war for years with the One Order gang over drug and extortion rings.
To avenge a death or send a message, Jamaican gangs will sometimes murder someone who merely lives in a neighbourhood controlled by rivals.
Two days before the women were butchered, 18-year-old Scott Thomas, a reputed Clansman named by police as a suspect in several killings, was decapitated in his Spanish Town home by a group of men armed with guns and machetes.
In an apparent copycat crime that same week, 37-year-old Gary Smith of the volatile Kingston community of August Town was beheaded by a group of attackers who dragged him out of his house. His attackers are still at large.
National Security minister Dwight Nelson congratulated investigators for arresting the suspects in the women's murders. He said: "The security forces have signalled they will not cower under the brute force and barbarity of heartless criminals who are bent on unleashing nationwide fear and anguish."
Prime minister Bruce Golding said the beheadings deeply shocked islanders as security forces are trying to get a handle on the island's violent crime problem amid an anti-gang crackdown. He said a sense of fear was palpable during a recent visit he made to the neighbourhood of Lauriston, where the women were killed in their beds.