WONDERFUL PERSON: Dian Paladee, 48

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Only daughter of Pennywise founder shot dead by ex-husband in murder/suicide

By Gyasi Gonzales and Kim Boodram

SHOCK and disbelief reverberated throughout the Tunapuna/St Augustine and Chaguanas communities yesterday, following the shooting death of Dian Paladee at the hands of her ex-husband, with whom she shared a close relationship even after they got a divorce in 2010.

Paladee, 48, was the only daughter of Lall Paladee, founder of the popular Pennywise Cosmetics. 

The El Dorado South Hindu School teacher was shot dead by Sanjeev Rambarran, 44, at his small apart­ment in Bidassie Street, St Augustine. He then turned his licensed pistol on himself.

According to Satnarine Paladee, one of Dian’s five brothers, on Wed­nes­day, the Paladee family were ha­ving dinner at their Prescott Lane, Pasea, Tunapuna, home.

Around 8.45 p.m. when Dian who was supposed to join them did not show up, the family became concerned and, according to Satnarine, they called her Orchard Gardens, Cha­guanas, home expecting she would have been there.

One of her two children answered and said she was not there as she had left Chaguanas that evening, telling them she would be at the family’s Tuna­puna home for dinner.

“At that point, we drove over to her Orchard Gardens home, following which we filed a missing person’s report,” Satnarine said. 

He said on their way to Chaguanas, they searched along the highway to see if she had been in an accident on her way to Tunapuna.

He said when they were satisfied there was no accident, a missing person’s report was made at the St Joseph and Tunapuna Police Stations. A report was also filed with the Anti-Kidnapping Squad (AKS).

“We got a fantastic response from the police. I mean, they were advi­sing us as to what to do, so I must say we received outstanding service from them,” he said.

Satnarine explained they immediately feared she may have gone to her ex-husband’s home or he may have kidnapped her.

“We knew he had a tendency of being abusive and we tried our best to let her understand that people like this cannot change, but she was the kind of woman who loved everyone and she thought that with this love, she could have changed him,” he said.

He continued, “For some reason because of her loving nature, she saw the goodness in everyone and everything. That was her nature. She was the kind of woman, she would have a million worries but you would not know because she liked to see everyone smiling.”

He said around 3.30 a.m. yesterday, the family found out he (Rambar­ran) had a St Augustine apartment and at 4.15 a.m., together with AKS officers, they went to the Bidassie Street apartment.

The front door, as well as the apartment’s side door, was locked.

Dian’s Toyota Rav4 SUV, along with her ex-husband’s Toyota Hilux pick-up, was parked in the garage.

AKS officers, along with the family, then called out to her but got no response. Officers then kicked open the door. They saw nothing. They then went over to the main bedroom of the apartment where the bodies of the couple lay on the bed. Dian had been shot while Rambarran had a single gunshot to the head.

Arriving later on the scene was the district medical officer, along with officers of the Homicide Bureau and the Crime Scene Investigations (CSI) Unit. By 11 a.m., both bodies had been removed from the apartment.

The Express also visited Dian’s home in Chaguanas.

The short Prishanti Drive cul-de-sac where Dian lived with her children was all but deserted yesterday.

The large house, painted in muted colours of yellow, bore a wooden sign above the front entrance with the words “Sai Cottage” carved into it, a testament to Dian’s devotion to late Indian guru Sai Baba. The fa­mi­ly’s reverence for Baba is well-known as his portrait can be seen in all Pennywise stores, adorned with a “mala” (garland) as a mark of respect.

The house was quiet and appeared to be locked, with no cars in the driveway.

Dian’s devotion to Hindu philosophy translated into a life filled with service to others, said the lone neighbour who spoke to the Express du­ring a visit to the street yesterday.

“She was a really, really wonderful person,” said the neighbour, who asked not to be identified by name.

“She was just a great person. Very lovely and always doing a lot of work with communities,” she said.

The neighbour, who became slightly emotional during the brief interview, said Dian’s violent death had come as a shock to the quiet area and will affect her friends and neighbours for a long time to come.

Asked whether any signs had been observed that would have indicated trouble in Dian’s life, the wo­man said, “No.”

Homicide Bureau officers are continuing investigations. 

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