Juan Ignacio Blanco  


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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Angry with the victims' mother
Number of victims: 3
Date of murders: December 12, 1992
Date of arrest: Next day (surrenders)
Date of birth: 1967
Victims profile: Jason Braithwaithe, 7; Althea George, 4; and Travis Bunbury, 2 (his stepchildren)
Method of murder: Drowning / Slit his throat with a knife
Location: West Bank Demerara, Guyana
Status: Sentenced to death on February 5, 1996

The quiet mass murderer

- in one moment of madness, Oral Hendricks took three innocent lives…

By Michael Jordan -

August 17, 2008

Guyana’s crime files are replete with cases of men who suddenly became afflicted with madness and went on killing sprees.

There was Hubert Headley, called ‘Baby Arthur’ who flew into a cocaine-induced rage one day and hacked his mother and nine other villagers to death in Friendship, East Coast Demerara before a policeman’s bullet ended his rampage.

There was a Buxton security guard named Raul Herod, who armed himself with a gun and killed his mother-in-law and his children before taking his own life.

And there is a case at Berbice, where a man barged into a wedding house with a shotgun and blasted two people to death.

In these matters, there was a hint of impending tragedy. ‘Baby Arthur’ was a violent drug addict who habitually beat his mother.

Herod had a long-running dispute with his mother-in-law, and had warned her that “some people don’t hear when fus bell ring, they does only hear second bell.” But in the case of Oral Hendricks, no one saw it coming.

Oral Hendricks’ story is one of a quiet, nondescript individual who suddenly went violently mad. Back in 1992, Hendricks was 25 years old and working as a caretaker at the Speedway Hotel at Land of Canaan, East Bank of Demerara.

And at that relatively young age, he became involved in a common-law relationship with a woman, Carol Braithwaithe, and her three small children: Jason Braithwaithe, seven; Althea George, four; and Travis Bunbury, aged two. Some blame this relationship for all that followed.

Carol Braithwaithe eventually moved to Plaisance, where she allegedly had a live-in job. Oral Hendricks was left to take care of Carol’s three children.

This situation continued for several months, until Hendricks eventually took the children to the West Demerara Regional Hospital and left them in the compound.

The children remained at the hospital in the care of staffers, but on Friday, December 10, Hendricks collected the children from hospital officials.

According to police records, on the night of Saturday, December 12, 1992, Hendricks took his reputed wife’s three children to a canal in Depot Dam in Pouderoyen, East Bank Demerara.

It is alleged that Hendricks flung two-year-old Travis Bunbury into the canal and watched the child drown. He then did the same to the boy’s four-year-old sister, Althea George.

Finally, Hendricks dumped seven-year-old Jason Braithwaithe into the canal, but the child managed to swim to the other end.

Hendricks, it is alleged, pursued the child and slit his throat with a knife. He then held the child’s head underwater to ensure that he was dead.

The following day, Hendricks went to a brother’s home in Depot Dam, Pouderoyen, where he told his sibling what had transpired.

The brother and another man raced to the canal where a frantic search began for the missing children. First, they located the bodies of Travis Bunbury and Althea George. Jason Braithwaite’s body was found later in the afternoon.

Shortly after, Oral Hendricks surrendered to police at the Vreed-en-Hoop Police Station. On December 15, 1992, he was charged with murder.

During his trial, Hendricks’ two attorneys claimed that their client had an alibi and knew nothing of the gruesome crime. Hendricks, they said, had loved the children as if they were his.

Prosecutor Shalim Ali-Hack presented evidence which showed that after the children were slain, Hendricks had gone to Plaisance and told his reputed wife, Carol Braithwaithe, that his sister had taken the children to the West Demerara Regional Hospital and that the authorities were refusing to return them to him.

But a witness for the prosecution stated that the children were handed over to Hendricks on Friday, December 10, 1992, the day before they were murdered.

In addition, the prosecution provided a statement which showed that Hendricks had confessed to killing the children.

In his statement, the accused alleged that he had murdered the three children because he was angry with their mother. On Tuesday, February 5, 1996, a seven-man, five-woman jury found Hendricks guilty.

Before passing the death sentence on the accused Chief Justice Cecil Kennard asked Hendricks what he had to say. “I did not commit this crime,” was Hendricks’ terse response.

In 2000, Hendricks’ attorneys filed an appeal against his sentence but the appeal was rejected. That same year, a death warrant was read to the accused.

However, Hendricks remains on death row. Prison officials say that he is a quiet inmate and causes no trouble.

A relative who spoke briefly to Kaieteur News this week suggested that Hendricks is resigned to his fate.

A male relative feels that Hendricks, whom he described as a quiet individual, was deranged when he committed the act.

Some persons opined that the young man’s mind had snapped after being deserted and being left to take care of his spouse’s three children.

However, some 15 years after that unspeakable crime, the reasons are still somewhat unclear as to what transformed ‘quiet’ Oral Hendricks into a mass murderer.


Around the same time of the Oral Hendricks case, a woman was also charged with poisoning her twin babies. She was found guilty and sentenced to death. However, her sentence was overturned and she was eventually freed.



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