VIPD still investigating deaths of men found in their Estate Whim home


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ST. CROIX - Eight months have passed since the partially decomposed bodies of Kasaun Baptiste and Jose Baptiste were found in their Estate Whim home, but police said they still are investigating and awaiting the results of additional forensic testing.

St. Croix Police Chief James Parris said Thursday that the investigation still is ongoing into the deaths that were discovered just after 3 p.m. May 1.

He said subsequent testing had to be done in connection with the case and they are awaiting those results.

"We are still awaiting some more results from forensic technicians that we sent evidence to off-island," Parris said.

Police found the bodies of both men inside their home in an advanced state of decomposition after being called by a friend who had gone to visit the men, got no response and reported smelling a foul odor coming from the home.

Police initially had not said whether foul play was suspected but later confirmed that detectives of the Major Crimes Unit are conducting a criminal investigation.

Parris said Thursday that the evidence collected from the scene had to be treated and analyzed differently from evidence collected from a scene created minutes or hours before it is discovered.

He said the fact that the men had been dead for several days before their bodies were discovered created another level of difficulty for investigators.

While Parris said many in the community, including the family of both men, are anxious about the findings of the investigation and the final determination of the circumstance surrounding the cause of the deaths, the detectives, forensic technicians and others associated with the case must ensure that they are certain about the conclusions made based on the findings before making any public announcements.

About a week after the discovery, Parris confirmed that territorial Medical Examiner Dr. Francisco Landron completed the autopsies on the bodies on May 6. Parris has said since then that the cause and manner of death for the men had not been determined to an absolute degree of certainty.

He said that Landron and police detectives still are looking at a few things regarding the bodies and that when they are absolutely certain about the findings, the information will be released.

Since then, the determination was made to send evidence off-island for additional testing.

Jose Baptise initially had been identified by police as Jose Navarro, but according to court records, he had his name legally changed from Jose Navarro to Jose Baptiste in 2009.

Kasaun Baptiste, who had been Jose Baptiste's guardian since Jose Baptiste was about 6 years old, was well-known across the territory for his talents in pageantry, party planning, decorating and baking. He also was an unsuccessful candidate for the Board of Education in 2012.

Kasaun Baptiste had competed in the Festival Calypso Monarch Competition on several occasions under the stage name K-Force and was anticipated annually as a performer with dynamic stage presence. Jose Baptiste also ventured into the calypso field, wowing judges and capturing three consecutive Junior Calypso wins.

Kasaun Baptiste was crowned Captain of Travel in Style 2010-2011 and relinquished his crown to Jose Baptiste, who won the 2011-2012 competition.

- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email fstokes@dailynews.vi.

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