There’s a sad story that’s getting quite a bit of media attention regarding someone being killed at Malliouhana, a luxury hotel in Anguilla.
The incident occurred on April 13, 2019, where police were called just after 4PM. A 27 year old hotel maintenance worker, Kenny Mitchel, was found dead in a guest room, and an autopsy revealed that he had been beaten and choked to death.
The person who killed him was the occupant of the room, Gavin Hapgood, a 44 year old financial advisor from Connecticut who was traveling with his family, including his young children (who apparently witnessed all of this).
A spokesperson for Hapgood claimed that this was all in self defense:
“The worker showed up unannounced in uniform at the hotel room, claiming he was there to fix a broken sink before carrying out his sudden, violent attack on the family. He was armed and demanding money.”
“Attacked without warning in his family’s hotel room by a maintenance worker who was armed and demanding money, Scott Hapgood acted in self-defense to protect the lives of his young daughters and himself.
Despite false reports to the contrary, the Hapgoods never called maintenance. Neither invited nor expected, the worker showed up unannounced in uniform at the hotel room.”
Hapgood had to seek medical attention for the wounds he got from the altercation, including multiple cuts from the knife that Mitchel apparently entered the room with.
Mitchel’s brother had the following to say:
“He would never try something that dumb. Even if it was possible he would not. Why would someone try to do something like that? It doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t add up. It doesn’t make sense.
He was a very nice person, and people at the hotel would always have good things to say. Everyone knew Kenny, everyone knew what type of person he was.”
Initially Hapgood was denied bail, but he was later released on a $74,000 bond following an appeal and returned to the US, though plans to return to Anguilla to clear his name.
This has caused outrage among many Anguillans, and has increased racial tensions on the small island that is known for attracting wealthy tourists.
I’ll be the first to admit that maybe I’ve just seen too many crime shows, but this seems like one of those situations where there may be more to the story.
Anguilla is a small island with just 15,000 residents, and crime is very low, especially against tourists. It’s known for being one of the safest islands in the Caribbean.
There are certain types of hotel deaths one can make sense of — an argument between people traveling together that escalates, an outside person coming in and robbing a room and it going wrong, a drug deal gone bad, etc.
But this situation sounds unusual on both ends:
- It’s hard to believe that a hotel maintenance worker would try to carry out an attack on a hotel guest, since it seems like a near sure bet that they’ll get caught
- At the same time, what motive could the hotel guest possibly have for killing a hotel worker in his room, as it’s also a sure bet the death would be tied to him
None of that is to say that any of the above points aren’t a possibility, but rather just that these seem like very unusual circumstances.
My thoughts are with Mitchel’s family (he was a husband and a father), and also with Hapgood’s daughters, who allegedly witnessed all of this. I’ll be keeping an eye on this story for updates. Hopefully they’re able to figure out exactly what happened and serve justice, whatever that looks like.