EAST END — Did his troubled stateside financial dealings or his St. John investments cost a Tennessee insurance entrepreneur his life in an apparent murder in an isolated home on the northeastern tip of the island in November 2014?
The family and personal physician of the insurance investment Edward Netherland, 60, of Nashville, are questioning the progress of any V.I. Police Department investigation into the suspicious death — or lack thereof. There has been no public further information about the VIPD investigation since shortly after the incident.
Major Crime detectives in the St. Thomas/St. John district reported the homicide victim was discovered unresponsive in his Cliffside home on the isolated east end of St. John at about 9:15 a.m. on November 18. Detectives also said the results of the autopsy received by them on November 20 list cause of death as blunt force trauma.
Police were dispatched to the residence after an employee of the victim entered the house, found the victim and called 911, according to preliminary VIPD information.
“Ed was a good friend of mine and I’m surprised so little has been accomplished in finding his killer,” said Netherland’s personal physician in Nashville. “As his physician, I would like to review the autopsy report.”
“I’m unclear as to the exact cause of death,” the doctor continued. “What forensic information on the murder scene is available?”
“I understand there may have been other blood at the scene for blood type/DNA analysis,” the physician added.
“In a U.S. territory and U.S. citizen, why isn’t (the) FBI involved, especially given the poor reputation of the local police?” the Tennessee physician asked.
With controversy surrounding Netherland’s insurance and financial dealings, representatives of news media in his home state of Tennessee were in contact with St. John Tradewinds immediately after the businessman’s body was found in the isolated home on East End.
Tennessee media has not reported much on the financier since his untimely death.
“I have no knowledge of his financial dealings except that he was an innovative person in new insurance products with a forceful personality,” Netherland’s physician told St. John Tradewinds.
“Ed’s family is very interested in resolution,” his personal physician added.
The murder of his patient and friend was “similar to the Malfetti situation in poor police response but circumstances of the individuals lives different,” Netherland’s personal physician said in an e-mail to St. John Tradewinds referring to the pending prosecution of the January 2014 murder of James Malfetti.
Personal Physician Has Questions
“I don’t think Ed was involved with drugs,” his physician said in response to questions from St. John Tradewinds. “He did have a lot of financial relationships/deals with some dissatisfied clients; I agree they would be the first suspects to look into.”
“Ed was not just renting an isolated house,” his physician added. “He had some ownership interest in that whole development and planned to build his own home out there.”
“Yes, I am very interested,” Netherland’s son Brad, also an insurance executive, said when contact by St. John Tradewinds.
Neighbor Describes Scene
“It looked like a tussle and they hit him or he hit his head,” a neighboring property owner told St. John Tradewinds shortly after the incident. “It wasn’t like (the house) was ransacked — his wallet was gone; his watch was gone.”
“I don’t think they knew he was there,” the long-time St. John resident surmised. “This guy didn’t go out.”
“This is an isolated spot,” the neighbor said of the modern house which hangs off a cliff on the north shore of Privateer Point on the East End of St. John with a porch cantilevered far above the shoreline overlooking Tortola.”
“He was renting,” the property owner said. “He never locked his doors. He was on the phone 10 hours a day,”
“He sat out there in the peace and quiet… ,” the man said of the cliff-side home which is reached only by a circuitous unmarked concrete subdivision road overgrown with the brush of the semi-arid area.
“Of course forensics came out,” the source told St. John Tradewinds at the time. “They did the whole cop thing; but nothing ever comes of that.”
“He was a big guy,” the source continued. “There had to have been a fight.”
“There had to be a fight,” the Tradewinds source said. “He had a big wound on his head.”