By Caribbean News Now contributor
CASTRIES, St Lucia -- A prominent local hotelier is believed to have been murdered in Saint Lucia.
The victim’s charred body was found in the burnt-out wreckage of a Range Rover in an exclusive resort area in the north of the island.
An active police investigation is being conducted into the matter but, in the absence of definitive identification of the body and an official statement from law enforcement based on a postmortem due to be conducted on Monday, local authorities were unable to name the individual, or say precisely how he met his death.
However, British media identified the victim as 38-year-old Oliver Gobat, whose family owns and operates the luxurious Cap Maison hotel in Saint Lucia. Gobat was also the executive director of The Landings Hotel, once described as one of the Caribbean’s top 25 luxury resort hotels.
Local police said they had been trying to locate Gobat, who was reported missing by his family on Friday.
Sources said the victim had been shot twice in the head before being doused with gasoline and set alight, although police had not confirmed this.
A source on the island said nearby residents had reported hearing sounds of gunshots before spotting flames from the burning vehicle.
A short while later the burned out vehicle was discovered with a body of a man in the passenger seat. Sources said there were no keys in the vehicle and the doors were locked.
A Saint Lucia police spokeswoman said: “The badly burned body of a man was found in a car in the Cap Estate at the roadside but we have no identity for the victim. We can confirm that we are searching for a missing man called Oliver Gobat but we cannot confirm the identity of the dead man because of the state of the body.”
The discovery of the charred remains brings to three the number of dead bodies to have been found in the north of the island so far this month.
Previously, the body of a 22-year-old man was found, with residents near the area claiming that there was a sack over the head and the hands were bound.
In a separate incident, the decomposed body of a yet unidentified individual was found in bushes.