The Other Side of Paradise

The Bahamas. Sun, fun, and upscale resorts, right? Add murder to the mix, and throw in a Third World-style underclass.

Next month phase two of Kerzner's grand plan 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 employ 2000 Bahamians, offer 1200 rooms -- including a $25,000-a-night suite -- along with a new marina, the world's largest open-air aquarium, a dizzying array of theme park-like water attractions, and what the company says is the largest casino in the Caribbean. "It's got elements of Hawaii, Vegas, Disney, and probably Costa Rica," says Butch Kerzner, whose company owns 70 percent of the island. (A Sheraton, a Club Med, a few small hotels, and a handful of high-priced 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 might arouse suspicion on Paradise Island, accessed from Nassau via a two-lane toll bridge and currently patrolled by a handful 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 claims is a childlike mind? Not likely, according to the stern 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 on vagrancy charges. Prior to Anton's arrest for murder, the British press had a field day with the killings, splashing stories about a serial killer on the loose on Paradise Island on the front pages of every major newspaper in Great Britain. Early on, at a press conference, the Bahamas' Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham stated that such brutal acts could not possibly have been committed by a Bahamian. He was expressing a sentiment echoed by many of his countrymen who, 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 working round the clock in the massive gravel pit of Atlantis. 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, ruled out DesRosiers as a suspect when it was discovered that 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, and, though the killings barely registered in the American press (the Miami Herald published a small blurb of wire copy), the sense of urgency surrounding the investigation could scarcely have been greater. A serial killer on the loose only months before the opening of the new Atlantis, the Bahamas' most ambitious development project in decades, could prove disastrous. The police needed to arrest someone, and fast.

While local law enforcement frantically searched for a suspect, Anton, 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 focused on more pressing concerns: keeping the gunshots and late-night prowlers at bay and feeding four generations, including an infant, the child of Carolyn's 16-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 stream 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 yard work 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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