Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirm deaths
By Sancheska Brown and Tamara McKenzie
NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed today that two Bahamian males have been found dead in Turin, Italy.
One of the men, 29-year-old Alrae Ramsey, is a Foreign Service Officer at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who was on study leave and the other male, Blair John, was a PhD candidate who was studying in Halifax, Canada.
On Wednesday, Alrae Ramsey was found floating in the Po River in Turin, Italy and less than 24 hours later, Italian authorities reported that the lifeless body of Blair John, who was reported earlier to be missing, was also found floating in the same river.
Stating that he was speaking with a ‘heavy heart,’ Minister of Foreign Affairs, Darren Henfield, told parliamentarians in the House of Assembly that officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs arrived in Turin, Italy today [Wednesday] and met with police officials.
“We can now confirm that the body pulled from the river was that of Mr. Alrae Ramsey, a Foreign Service Officer who was on study leave in Vienna, Austria, who visited Turin [Italy] over the middle of last week. We have been in contact with the family of Mr. Ramsey and have shared all of the information that we have to date,” Henfield said.
“We also confirm that the body of the second Bahamian man that was pulled from the Po River in Turin was positively identified as that of Mr. Blair John.”
Today, Eyewitness News Online spoke to Cathleen Rahming, the grieving mother of Blair John, who recalled her last words with her oldest son.
“He said to me, ‘Mommy I am waiting on the train’ and I said to him, ‘I plead the blood of Jesus over you, I pray God gives you success and I love you’. It’s the last thing I said to him. Right after that, he disappeared.”
Rahming said Blair went to Italy to deliver a presentation and was scheduled to meet up with Ramsey, who was offering support as a fellow Bahamian. However, after not hearing from her son for a few days, she said she became concerned and called her daughter [who lives in London], who then flew from London to Italy in search of Blair.
“She went with one of my son’s friends who was in Paris,” Rahming said.
“My daughter and her friends were on top of things, they kept me in the loop, it was almost as if I was there. They were very thorough and they were notified that a body was pulled out of the river. That is when she called me.”
And even though the body of Alrae Ramsey was discovered on Tuesday, Rahming said she still held on to hope that her son was alive.
“I said to myself, if my son got a chance I knew he ran for his life. Deep down inside I thought he got away, and whatever the circumstances were, my son was somewhere hiding and waiting for the right time to resurface,” Rahming said.
“ But then I received a text from my daughter around 3a.m. on Wednesday and she said, ‘Just to let you know they found another body’ and then I braced myself for terrible news.”
When asked how she felt when she learned of her son’s demise, Rahming said “confused”.
“I am hurt, sad, very bothered and very confused,” she said. “I have a lot of questions and I am wondering why, why were they targeted because I do not believe it was an accident.”
Italian authorities initially claimed Ramsey’s death was an accident, but Rahming said she believes both men were murdered and the only thing that is keeping her sane is her faith.
“God has proven to me that no matter what, and in spite of everything, God is in control and it doesn’t matter how it looks, ultimately all things work together for good for those that love the Lord.”
When contacted, the mother of Alrae Ramsey, Anita Ramsey, said she is heartbroken
“I don’t have much to say,” she told Eyewitness News Online. “My son was a gem, he was a gem who was loved by all.”
As of today, authorities in Italy had not released any information on the official cause of death of the two men and autopsies will be performed.
Both families said they are anxious to have the bodies returned to the Bahamas to be buried.