The badly burnt body of Michelle Coudray, daughter of San Fernando Mayor Marlene Coudray, who went missing on June 2 in Jamaica, was discovered yesterday evening in a Montego Bay canefield. News Editor of the Gleaner newspaper, Adrian Frater, told the T&T Guardian, via telephone last night, Michelle’s body was discovered shortly after 4.30 pm Jamaican time (5.30 pm TT time). Frater said the body was burnt beyond recognition but friends were able to confirm her identity by her teeth and a bracelet she wore. Calls to Coudray’s telephone last night went unanswered. However, a close friend who was at her home, said she was too distraught to speak. Sobbing could be heard in the background. The friend said Coudray, who was in the process of packing her suitcase to go to Jamaica today, in search of her daughter, received a call from that country around 7 pm, confirming her worse nightmare. Earlier, TV6 News at seven, quoted Steve Brown, Jamaican Deputy Superintendent of Police, as saying a body was found near to where Michelle went missing. In spite of this latest development, Coudray still intends to make the trip today with her partner Larry Achong to confirm the identity and bring her daughter’s remains home.
Earlier yesterday the mayor made a passionate appeal for the return of her daughter. “If someone has her, please release my daughter. She has three young children who are missing her,” she said. The Jamaican Observer reported Michelle, 38, was last seen at about 12.30 am on June 2 in the Cornwall Courts area of St James, a few metres from her Montego Bay apartment. Coudray has been taking care of Michelle’s children, who are 11, seven and five years old respectively, since earlier this year while their mother teaches at a Montego Bay school in Jamaica. Michelle, who was separated from her Jamaican husband, previously worked with Air Jamaica and at the Sandals Resort. “We are praying and we are hopeful that this is just a temporary thing which we will overcome,” Coudray said in an interview at her Ste Madeleine home. “I don’t know that anyone would want to harm her. She was well-known in Jamaica and loved by all,” she said. During the interview, Michelle’s 11-year old daughter hugged her grandmother and asked: “When is mummy coming home?” A distraught Coudray responded: “We don’t know when mummy is coming back.” Coudray, a deputy leader of the United National Congress (UNC), said Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and other Government Ministers have called to express solidarity.
However, she has not sought Government help. “It is a private and personal matter and I am dealing with it,” she said. Speaking about the disappearance which has left her family shattered, Coudray said Michelle returned from Jamaica on May 6 for her son’s birthday. Coudray was at the time in Belize attending a local government conference and asked Michelle to stay until she returned. “She stayed for three weeks and left for Jamaica on Indian Arrival Day. She called on May 31 to say she had arrived safely,” she said. Coudray explained that Michelle had been experiencing problems with her telephone, so she thought nothing of it when she did not initially respond to calls. She said her internet connection at home was also not working so they had no other contact with her. Coudray said her estranged son-in-law’s mother called her last week and expressed concern Michelle could not be found, after she failed to keep a date to visit his family. They also made a report to the police. Coudray said her daughter had some medical challenges so she asked that they checked hospitals. “I am leaving this morning (Tuesday) for one week, which is enough time to know something, one way or another. If we have to extend the time, we will, or if we have to go and come back, we will,” she said.