TURIN, Italy, Monday June 24, 2019 – Autopsies on two Bahamian men whose bodies were pulled from a river in Turin, Italy earlier this month have concluded that they died from accidental drowning.
But the father of 28-year-old psychology Ph.D. student Blair John – who had met up in the Italian city with his college friend Alrae Ramsey, a Bahamian Foreign Service Officer who was the other man found in the Po River – does not accept his son drowned.
According to Italian news outlets, preliminary results determined the deaths were accidental and no foul play had been uncovered. Additional details in the report indicate that both men had alcohol in their system before somehow falling into the river but the toxicology report indicated that their alcohol levels were not high enough for them to have been drunk.
Investigators suggest that it’s possible one of the men slipped or jumped into the water and the other went to save him and they both drowned.
But John’s mother Cathleen Rahming told local media after his body was found on June 5, a day after Ramsey’s, that he was fit and a strong swimmer. Now the autopsy has been released, his father, Randolph John is adamant his son could not have drowned.
He told the Bahamas Tribune that if the men did drown, it meant they were “incapacitated” before being tossed in the river. He also rejected the idea that his son or Ramsey did drugs.
“If I was born three times again I wouldn’t accept that. If it was in fact a drowning then it means that they were incapacitated prior to being thrown in the river. That’s what it would mean,” he said.
“I know my son and I know his friend. They probably might drink a little bit of alcohol but these are civilized persons with their heads screwed on right. Do you reach that point in your life at that age, if you’re not focused?”
John, a St Augustine’s College graduate of Class of 2009 who was near completion of his Ph.D. in Psychology at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, had travelled to Turin to present an academic paper at a psychology conference.
Ramsey was employed with his country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs from December 2013, and was formerly posted at the Bahamas Embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti as third Secretary/Vice-consul in 2016-2017. Last year, he was granted an In-Service Award to pursue a one-year Postgraduate Diploma programme at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna in Austria for the September 2018 to June 2019 period. But sometime last week, he went to Turin.
The men both attended the same high school, Saint Augustine’s College in New Providence.
Their bodies are to be returned to The Bahamas for burial. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it was working assiduously with funeral homes in Turin and Nassau to have the bodies repatriated to The Bahamas as quickly as possible, so that they can be turned over to their families.