Police Briefing Focuses on Arrest of 22-Year-Old Homicide Suspect

Acting St. Croix District Deputy Chief of Police Sean Santos addresses Friday’s news briefing. (Facebook Live Screenshot)

At a news briefing Friday the V.I. Police Department announced the arrest of 22-year-old Ta’Jhanique Cumberbatch in connection with the death of 38-year-old Ian Benjamin Sr. at Estate Carlton on St. Croix.

Acting St. Croix District Deputy Chief Sean Santos confirmed the arrest Thursday of Cumberbatch. Cumberbatch was unable to post bail and was remanded at the Golden Grove Facility pending advice of rights.

She is a suspect in one of a dozen homicides that have taken place in the territory since the beginning of the year, the police acknowledged.

“In regard to the other homicides that occurred for 2021, we also do have a number of persons of interest regarding the cases and should see solvability in short order,” Santos said.

He also reminded the public that most of the investigations are “actively ongoing” and thus, he will not be able to disclose all the information the police have.

In other ongoing cases, the police reported:

– In an update to missing 80-year-old Michael “Dodor” Emmanuel an 80-year-old male that went missing on Feb. 19 was still ongoing. He was last seen in the Frederiksted town area.

Sarm Joan Lillian Heslop, last seen March 7 aboard Siren Song. (Photo provided by VIPD)

– The investigation into another missing person, 56-year-old Sarm Joan Lillian Heslop also is ongoing. She was last seen March 7 aboard the boat Siren Song, which was moored off the coat of St. John.

“The detectives on the island of St. John have been passing out flyers and making inspections in the Red Hook area of St. Thomas,” Public Information Officer Toby Derima said.

Derima said that in a call to 911 Thursday, a citizen reported sighting Heslop 911, but when officers traveled to the area they did not find her.

Police urged anyone with information regarding any of the ongoing cases you can contact the Criminal Investigation Bureau at 340-778-2211, the Crime Tip line at 340-778-4950 or the anonymous tip services, Crime Stoppers USVI, at 1-800-222-8477 (1-800-222-TIPS).