Haiti

Haiti police probing death of slain FHP trooper

 

As the family of South Florida trooper Jean Barthelus wait for his body to be returned from Haiti, an investigation has been launched into his shooting death.

jcharles@MiamiHerald.com

Haiti National Police investigators are looking into the death of a Florida Highway Patrolman killed in the Caribbean nation last Friday.

Jean Barthelus, 47, was in Haiti visiting his ailing wife when he was shot and killed in the Turgeau neighborhood of Port-au-Prince. Initial reports say Barthelus was flagged down on a road, then shot and killed.

Rodrigue Pierre, assigned to Haiti’s Criminal Investigations Unit, said it is too early to draw any conclusions about Barthelus’s killing.

“The investigation is ongoing, and we are working on a number of hypothesis,” Pierre said. “The only thing we know is that he did not kill himself.”

Pierre and Haiti National Police (HNP) officials say they are receiving assistance from the Regional Security Office of the U.S. Embassy, as well as mentoring from U.S.-financed officers from the New York Police Department in the investigation. The NYPD officers are detailed from their department on a U.S. government-financed mentoring partnership with the HNP.

On Thursday, NYPD and HNP officers began a forensic investigation of Barthelus’ vehicle, Pierre said.

Barthelus’ violent death is among several high profile killings that have shocked Haiti recently. Late last month, four men confessed to killing Wesseler “Marie” Philippes, a Swiss woman, who was investigating the finances of an orphanage in northern Haiti. The two hired killers were paid $62.50 to kill Philippes, police said.

Last Saturday, hundreds of Haitians and U.S. Embassy personnel packed a Petionville church to mourn Marline Lamothe, trade and investment advisor for the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Lamothe, 40, lived in Miami before moving back to Haiti five years ago. She was attacked by gunmen and later died of her wounds in a Port-au-Prince hospital.

“She consistently displayed courage, dedication and hard work and provided excellent leadership to her development partners,” Elénita Lahens, said in an email circulated shortly after Lamothe’s death.

“Her work promoting trade and investment in Haiti and encouraging diaspora investments and the greater participation of the Haitian business community in development contributed significantly to economic growth and stability and the close relationship USAID/Haiti enjoys with Haiti businesses at all levels.”

ln the aftermath of the earthquake, Lamothe, a mother of two, worked closely with the U.S. teams in their search and rescue efforts even while her own mother remained missing and presumed dead. Her body was discovered two weeks later under the rubble.

While kidnapping and other serious crimes are trending down, police say, the high profile deaths are a major concern.

Like with Barthelus’ killing, HNP’s investigation into Lamothe’s killing is receiving assistance from NYPD.

The family is planning to bury him next weekend, said Dorothy Borgelin, a cousin of Barthelus. They were anxiously awaiting the arrival of his body from Haiti on Friday, she said.

U.S. Congresswoman Frederica Wilson called the killing “senseless” and “brutal.” She said in a statement that she worked with “other state and federal agencies to relieve his family of the economic burden of recovering his body.”

“Trooper Barthelus was a beloved husband, father, son and brother,” she said. “He was the bedrock of his family, and they will need the support of the South Florida family as they cope with this tragic loss.”

Barthelus is survived by his wife, daughter, mother and several brothers and sisters. His brother, sister and mom all live in North Miami. Mayor Andre Pierre, who has visited the family, called on residents to help.

“I ask all of you, whatever you can do, please do so,’’ Pierre said from the dais at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. “The family is struggling."

Councilman Michael Blynn asked the city to donate money to the family and the city pledged to donate $10,000.

“This shows the humanity and love of this city for law enforcement officers,” Blynn said.

Miami Herald Staff Reporter Nadege Green contributed to this report.

Read more Top Stories stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
A large Goliath grouper nestled into the Bonaire shipwreck off Jupiter.

    OUTDOORS

    Outdoors feature: Goliath groupers make recovery but harvest remains on hold

    Dropping into the roiled, murky waters 60 feet deep off Jupiter Inlet on Monday, I heard the annual spawning aggregation of Goliath groupers before I actually saw it. Below me, I could barely make out the wreck of the MG 111 or the mottled, gentle giants that show up each year between late July and mid-October to keep their species going. But the Goliaths already had seen our group of divers and weren’t too happy about our visit. They emitted loud, bass booming noises that sound a little like gun reports – probably to alert each other and to warn us not to get too cozy.

  •  
Moye

    ‘Tortured’ Broward preteen went from 115 pounds to 56 at death

    A police report filed in the death of Tamiyah Audain says she wasted away amid neglect by her caregiver, caseworker and 2 psychologists.

  •  
 <span class="cutline_leadin">Therapeutic art forms:</span> Inmate Sandra Sysyn, center, plays the guitar and sings with other inmates in the ArtSpring class at the Homestead Correctional Facility. Top, inmate Deidre Hunt, performs a dance in the class.

    Prison life

    An art program in Miami women’s prison gives inmates moments of escapism

    At a Homestead women’s prison, long-running ArtSpring program frees inmates to reflect through poetry, music and more.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category