Allen’s Funeral Home Limited has taken over funeral arrangements for the four victims of last week’s fatal shooting at Heights of Guanapo, Arima.
The home has, however, told relatives that the caskets will have to be sealed at the funeral due to the poor state of the bodies.
Relatives of Faith Peterkin, 10; Arianna Peterkin, 14; Shane Peterkin, 17; and Tiffany Peterkin visited the Forensic Science Centre in St James on Tuesday.
Their father said three of the bodies showed major signs of decomposition. He said Shane’s body, however, was recognisable.
The bodies had been stored at another funeral agency.
Secretary of Allen’s, Jenny Thompson-Pierre, told Guardian Media that they were assisting with the funeral although they were not responsible for the condition of the bodies.
With tears in her eyes, Thompson-Pierre said the only way this could have happened was if the bodies were not stored properly.
“From my experience, the number one thing you do is you get refrigeration,” she said.
She said relatives, who had already lost their loved ones in seconds, will not get a chance to say a proper goodbye at the funeral.
She added, “On top of the fact that she (the mother of the victims) has to bury her kids, she can’t kiss them, she can’t touch their faces, the normal thing you do in funerals, you always touch your loved ones, who want a hug, who want a kiss.”
Thompson-Pierre called on the funeral home responsible to reach out to the family and do something.
“My suggestion (to the other funeral home) is to reach out to the TTPS and say, ‘listen, we know we were assigned to pick up these bodies but unfortunately, we are not in a position to store the bodies. Could you all reassign and have the police remove the bodies and put them in a home in a position to store the bodies?’.”
She said when the victim’s mother visited the home on Wednesday, she held on to her and cried.
Thompson-Pierre said this is not the country she knew and called for people to put down the guns.
“We are way off, there is no love, nobody is thinking of what’s being done. If we could just live in love, like everybody is your family, lend a helping hand, share a plate of food, laugh,” she cried.
Guardian Media reached out to the funeral home in question.
The manager said they were not responsible for the condition of the bodies. The home is also exploring its legal options.
Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner of Police Curt Simon said the police are encouraged by what is developing in the investigation into the murders on September 22, which occurred around 12.25 am.
The incident caused fear among residents. Other family members have since fled the community.
Since then, there have been 24-hour police patrols throughout the area, which some people welcome.