The Scary Side of Paradise

The Bahamas. A feast of sun, fun, and upscale resorts, right? Try adding murder to the mix, toss in a dubious justice system, and spread over a teeming underclass.

Next month phase two of Kerzner's grand scheme to reinvent Paradise Island will open. (Phases three and four are still in the planning stages.) Anchored by a massive new hotel that looks like a cross between a wedding cake and the castle at Disney's Magic Kingdom, the $450 million Atlantis expansion will eventually employ more than 5000 Bahamians, offer more than 2300 rooms -- including a $25,000-a-night suite -- along with a new $30 million marina, one of the world's largest open-air aquariums, a dizzying array of parklike water attractions, and what is reportedly the largest casino outside Las Vegas. "It's got elements of Hawaii, Vegas, Disney, and probably Costa Rica," says Butch Kerzner, whose company owns 70 percent of Paradise Island. (A Sheraton, a Club Med, a few small hotels, and a handful of luxury homes share the other 30 percent.) With so much money riding on Atlantis, Butch's father isn't likely to take any more chances when it comes to security.

"Security is the number-one priority," says Heinz Kloihofer, a small-hotel owner who serves on the board of the Paradise Island Tourism Development Association, a hotel organization that is largely controlled by Sol Kerzner. "We want to make this place as safe as Monte Carlo, with electronic surveillance and a larger security force patrolling the island 24 hours a day. Nobody wants crime here. We basically want to know who is on the island, and if it's at an unordinary hour and the person has an unordinary look, then we would send somebody to check it out. If I see somebody suspicious, I immediately call security."

There's no doubt that Anton McIntosh, tall and dark, with a Forrest Gump grin and a vacant stare, is the type of person who would arouse suspicion on Paradise Island, accessible from Nassau via a two-lane toll bridge and currently patrolled by a detachment of Bahamian police as well as 160 unarmed security guards. But could the impulse to rape and murder have sprung from what Anton's grandmother, Uris McIntosh, claims is a childlike mind? Not likely, according to the stern and religious woman, who says her grandson never once erupted in violence but had on countless occasions lost control of his emotions and broken into tears. "He's just a boy," she says. "He panics if a dog gets hurt."

Nonetheless Anton was charged with both murders in late September, nearly a month after he'd been picked up on the beach and held for three days for vagrancy. Prior to Anton's arrest for murder, the British press had a field day with the crimes. Stories about a serial killer being on the loose on Paradise Island were splashed across the front pages of every major newspaper in Great Britain. Early on, at a press conference, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham declared that such brutal acts could not possibly have been committed by a Bahamian. In doing so, he was expressing a sentiment echoed by many of his countrymen, who, though accustomed to news of armed robbery and rape, had never before heard of a Bahamian serial killer.

Ingraham pointed his finger at Philippe DesRosiers, a 23-year-old French-Canadian construction worker employed at the massive gravel pit servicing the Atlantis construction project. When she disappeared, Lori Fogleman had been sharing a room with DesRosiers at the old Holiday Inn, which now served as living quarters for foreign construction crews. Police, who had linked the two killings because of the proximity of the bodies and the similar conditions in which they were found (both were believed to have been raped), ruled out DesRosiers as a suspect when it was learned he had returned to Canada a few days before Joanne Clarke disappeared. Other workers staying at the Holiday Inn were also questioned, as was the sanitation worker who'd found Fogleman's purse -- minus her credit card, passport, and driver's license -- in a trash bin near Cabbage Beach. None was deemed a viable suspect.

Though the killings barely registered in the American press (the Miami Herald did publish six wire-service blurbs in August and September), the sense of urgency surrounding the investigation could scarcely have been greater. A serial killer roaming free only months before the opening of the new Atlantis, the most ambitious development project in the Bahamas in decades, could prove disastrous. The police needed to arrest someone, and fast.

While local law enforcement frantically searched for a suspect, Anton McIntosh, who had been released from police custody August 24, went back to mowing lawns and stocking shelves at the neighborhood supermarket. The McIntosh family forgot about the brief disruption in their lives and concentrated on more pressing concerns: keeping the gunshots and late-night prowlers at bay and feeding a large brood, including an infant, the child of Carolyn's sixteen-year-old daughter. Among Carolyn's children, Anton is not the only one she describes as "slow." There are two others, including a nine-year-old boy who's barely learned to speak and sometimes runs squawking through the house, smiling and laughing and letting his pants fall to his knees.

After Anton returned home, he helped his grandmother clean up the trail of toys, books, and clothing scattered among the frayed furniture and old appliances that filled the dark, humid, four-bedroom house. He also continued to give her roughly half the take from the yardwork he did in the neighborhood. "Mummy," he would tell his grandmother after depositing his rusty lawn mower in the back yard, "I made $45 today. That's $20 for you and $25 for me."

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