Philipsburg, August 08th 2019
From: Chief Inspector R.V. HENSON
POLICE PRESS RELEASE
Three suspects in ongoing armed robbery investigation arrested
The Police Department (KPSM) is proud to announce that detectives investigating the ongoing armed robbery case involving a Canadian male tourist and his daughter that took place on June 5th 2019 just after 11.00 p.m. on Beacon Hill road have arrested three suspects involved in this case. During this robbery the victim identified as Sylvain Valade in his efforts to protect his daughter from any harm was shot and unfortunately died later of the wounds he sustained at a hospital in the United States. The daughter of the victim was not physically injured but was emotionally traumatized by the incident. Directly after committing this heinous act the robbers fled the scene in small white vehicle towards the French Side of the island and have been in hiding. This incident shocked the entire community of Sint Maarten including visitors to the island and was covered by international media.
The team of the KPSM Special Unit Robbery immediately initiated an investigation and gave this case highest priority in order to locate and apprehend the culprits responsible for this terrible act and bring them to justice. The SUR-team worked tirelessly with persistence and in close cooperation during many long hours with the local Prosecution Service and the French Gendarmes to solve this case which started just over two months ago. Even though Sint Maarten is a very small island separated into two different countries with open borders the judicial process which then becomes a challenge has to be respected and followed. This judicial process however did not discourage the SUR-team or the other judicial entities assisting in this investigation. Today we are very happy to say that the three suspects are behind bars and that they are cooperating with the investigation. The suspects at this time will remain in custody for questioning and further investigation. The community of Sint Maarten and visitors to the island should feel safer that these culprits are off the streets. Police Force of Sint Maarten (KPSM) has put all resources into this investigation and will do everything necessary and in its power to bring closure to this case for the family and friends of the Sylvain Valade.
The Honorable Minister of TEATT Steven Johnson
On June fifth this year, the family of Sylvain Valade suffered a horrific loss while he was vacationing on our Island. The news shocked us all and today still pains us as we recall the events that unfolded on that night.
Nothing can take away the pain from the loss that the Valade family has suffered. To have it occur at all is beyond words, and to have it happen here on our shores where we welcome and embrace all visitors from around the world each year is equally unacceptable. No one should have to ever worry about their safety while visiting our shores.
I hope that the news of the capture and arrest of the suspects can bring some degree of comfort in the knowledge that they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Our country mourns with you still today, and we will be unrelenting in our pursuit of justice.
I want to thank the many people who made an effort in one way or another to offer some comfort to the Valade family in their time of mourning. I think the police also deserve to be highly commended for their swift work.
In times like these, there are no set words that can be used to comfort the grieving. While you mourn, however, know that we mourn with you and we pray that God grant you strength and peace as you carry on the memory of your loved one.