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Breakthrough in Landmark Cold Case

Image of Yanna Auguste
Yanna Auguste

The Royal Saint Lucia Police Force this week made a breakthrough, the first in its kind, in a cold case.

Almost seven years after Yanna Auguste was murdered in Soufriere, a 45-year-old male from Bexon, Castries was charged for her murder, underscoring police determination to solve what is known as cold cases.

“The resolution of this long standing murder investigation, not only gives hope for similar results in the future, but it has provided the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force the added confidence that with the strengthening and upgrading of some key institutional frameworks within the country’s criminal justice system, cold cases being solved will become a regular and routine police exercise,” Deputy Police Commissioner Wayne Charlery said.

A cold case can be defined as an unsolved criminal investigation which remains open pending the discovery of new evidence. The case becomes ‘cold’ because of the length of time it takes investigators to get to the bottom of it.

Deputy Police Commissioner Wayne Charlery
Deputy Police Commissioner, Wayne Charlery

According to Charlery, cold cases are revived when furnished with new leads from a variety of sources that are either technological in nature, forensics or an eye witness account.

Although he was not specific as to what leads investigators received which enabled them to revive the Auguste matter, he  mentioned that due to the diligent efforts of officers attached to the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force Special charges were able to be laid in the Auguste matter.

Yanna’s unresponsive body was discovered in Soufriere on July 12, 2015, along with her damaged motorcar. A post mortem examination determined that she died as a result of asphyxia.

“Since the discovery, officers exhausted all avenues to bring closure to the matter, and on Tuesday, April 26, 2022, a male was arrested under suspicion for having perpetrated the murder. On Wednesday, April 27, 2022, Zaccheus Leon, a forty five year old resident of Bexon, Castries was formally charged for causing the death of Yanna Auguste, between July 11, 2015 and July 12, 2015. He was escorted before the First District Court for a bail hearing, where he was remanded in custody until Friday, May 27, 2022,” disclosed a police press release.

The release reiterated that despite the period of time that elapsed, police officers spared no effort in bringing the Auguste matter to resolution.

“We remain committed to creating a safer environment for all people in Saint Lucia. Anyone with information relating to a crime is asked to contact the Major Crimes Unit at 4563754 or the Crime Hotline at 45-CRIME,” ended the police release.

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