The murder investigation of President Jovenel Moïse made a violent turn for authorities last Thursday when a judicial clerk working for the case was found dead in Port-au-Prince.
The victim, Ernst Lafortune, was having an evening meeting with his superior, Mathieu Chanlatte, a judge investigating the murder of President Jovenel Moïse on the night before the incident. According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, the National Association of Haitian Legal Clerks said in a statement that the two had a “lively discussion.”
Lafortune was reported to have told Chanlatte of his plans to resign, and had begun an inventory of the cases he was handling in preparation for that departure.
“Lafortune told me he would quit his position because he had a dispute with the prosecutor [over] the processing of the file of the assassination of President Moise,” Martin Ainé, president of the union stated last Thursday.
Hours later, Mr. Lafortune was dropped off by unidentified people at a hospital with broken arms and a gash in his throat, said another legal clerk working with him.
Lafortune was pronounced dead at the hospital. He was survived by his wife and two children.
The hospital where Mr. Lafortune was taken couldn’t be identified. His family members and the judge couldn’t be reached to comment.
“Is it a coincidence that he is dead? Look at it: It is not a coincidence,” the legal clerk said. “It’s a clear signal that shows that a clerk cannot work on this case.”
In a separate article by the Haitian Time, the death of Lafortune was still unclear, and “the circumstances appear suspicious.” Other reports said that Lafortune, who was asthmatic, may have accidentally inhaled tear gas during a clash between gangs and police in Martissant on Wednesday.
Lafortune’s death came as a shock and has caused significant concern among authorities involved in the investigation. Many are fearful for their safety, as some investigators have either been receiving threats or gone into hiding.
Meanwhile, elections for president, the legislature and a controversial constitutional referendum in Haiti have been postponed to November 7.