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Community Stunned by Loss of Young Mother in Apparent Murder

The discovery of the body of young woman on October 26, 2017 has left the communities of Abaco shaken as the search for answers continues.

Lavardo Huyler, a resident of Dundas Town, was arraigned in magistrate’s court in Freeport, Grand Bahama and charged on Monday, October 30, with the murder of the woman.

It is alleged that the accused, sometime between October 21 and October 26, at Marsh Harbour, Abaco, by means of unlawful harm intentionally caused the death of a woman, whom the judge said is still formally unidentified.

Deputy Chief Magistrate Ferguson informed Huyler he was not required to enter a plea to the charge of murder, and that a preliminary inquiry will be held into the matter to determine if there is sufficient evidence against him to stand trial in the Supreme Court.

“I see where a female is unidentified; the circumstances may change in the future, right now we do not know the identification of the person who is alleged to have died,” said Deputy Chief Magistrate Ferguson.

On the issue of bail, the prosecution asked –- due to the seriousness of the offence – that bail be denied according to Section 438 Part C and Part G of the Bail Amendment Act.

The judge told Huyler that due to the nature of the offence he was not entitled to bail. He is entitled to apply for bail in the Supreme Court.

He was remanded to the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services in New Providence until February 26, 2018 when a preliminary inquiry will be held.

It is believed, though still unconfirmed at press time, that the body is that of 25-year-old Harderia Bootle, mother of three children, who was reported missing on October 21 by her family.

The body of the young woman was discovered partially covered in rocks in bushes on S. C. Bootle Hwy just outside of Central Abaco.

Police reported on Thursday that around 2 p.m., officers were called to S.C. Bootle Highway to investigate an odd smell in bushes. Shortly after, they discovered the body, according to police.

North Abaco Family Island Administrator Terrece Bootle-Bethel, Harderia’s aunt, speaking in an interview with the Nassau Guardian said “She was a very beautiful, vibrant, young woman with great prospects, so you can imagine the grief that the family is feeling in lieu of her tragic death.”

Mrs. Bootle-Bethel said the community has been struck with a “sense of tremendous grief and shock”.

“I saw it in the faces and the response of the persons in general, [including] the immediate family, extended family, friends and the general community of Abaco,” she said.

“I saw anger. I saw bewilderment. There is a sense of tremendous grief and shock.

The family’s greatest fear began last Saturday after Harderia left her mother’s home, according to Mrs. Bootle-Bethel, never to be heard from again.

“We knew something was wrong because she was a caretaker of her kids, a provider for her kids,” Mrs. Bootle-Bethel said.

“To accept that she would walk away from her children was a reality we just could not face. We knew that was something she would never do.”

Mrs. Bootle-Bethel said after the young mother wasn’t heard from all day Saturday, the family contacted the police.

She said when the family finally found her, it was far worse than what they expected. “It was tragic,” she said.

“A group from her hometown and her closest family and friends from the Blackwood community [went] into that area and they came upon her and what looked like an entombment of rocks and [they] were able to see partial exposure of her body.

“[It was] because of their familiarity with her appearance, what she looked like, her body posture, composure, that they knew that, that was possibly her.”

Bootle-Bethel said the community has suffered a great loss and all the family wants is justice for the death of the young mother.

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About Timothy Roberts

Timothy Roberts

Timothy had his first venture into Journalism just months after graduating from Queen’s College in Nassau taking his first job with The Tribune in 1991 leaving in 1992 for other pursuits.

During his time in Nassau he diversified his experiences working as a warehouse manager, locksmith and computer technician before returning to Abaco, a place he has always considered home, in 1999.

He joined the staff of The Abaconian in 2001 doing graphic design and writing an opinion article called Generally Speaking and after a brief time away, returned to The Abaconian in 2010 as a reporter, graphic designer and computer technician.

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