The murder of Yvel C. Célestin :

The murder of Yvel C. Célestin :


Yvel Carmel Célestin, born October 20, 1977 in Arcahaie Haiti, was a father, a community leader, a caretaker and a missionary who dedicated his life to serving the less fortunate in Jersey City, New Jersey, as well as in many communities in Haiti. A human being with a big heart shouldn’t have ended the way he has.

Yvel got attracted to the field of communications, concentrating mainly in movie productions. That called for frequent travels to different parts of Haiti to do filming,

along with his medical missionary work. Of the many indi- viduals he met, some became colleagues and friends. He could n’t have believed that from these acquaintances he would meet fate!

On July 19, 2019, Yvel traveled to Haiti to do missionary work and also for personal business. He was scheduled to return to the U.S. on July 30th. However, on July 27, at about 10:30 p,m, he was murdered by a group of “friends” in Nerette, a community near Pétion-ville. On that fatal day, Yvel was involved in various activities, from trying to purchase a piece of land to visiting family members in his hometown of Arcahaie.

The land deal appears to be his undoing. Based on conversations with people that were with him on that day, the purchase didn’t go through because of suspicions that the land didn’t really belong to the seller. Prior to the land deal, Yvel had a feud with a former friend named Rodney Ferdinand. As it is, Yvel had shipped a vehicle to Haiti under Rodney’s name. When Yvel asked Rodney for the transfer, he refused, unless Yvel paid him four thousand US dollars($4,000.00). Of course, Yvel declined.

Considering that the friend- ship between them had become very sour, Yvel sought professional help to process the transfer on his own. Apparently, Rodney had someone who worked in the institution to which Yvel had turned. On learning what was happening, Rodney worked underhandedly and stopped the transfer procedures. When Yvel went to Haiti in July, it was specifically to take care of the vehicle issue and the land purchase.

Yvel had three specific individuals with whom he dealt, whether having to do with finance, his production business and missionary work. They are Rodney Ferdinand, Ralf Nozil and Wilson Loiseau, who is a police officer. The three call themselves “Baz 3” and know each other quite well. They also know Yvel very well, especially Rodney and Ralf.

When Yvel and Rodney’s friendship soured, Yvel started dealing with Ralf at all levels. Having a U.S. visa, Ralf traveled often to the U.S and stayed in the room of Yvel’s son for the duration of his trip. Indeed, Ralfis not a stranger for Yvel and his family. Ralf knew everything about Yvel, his travel dates, his financial deals, his business aspirations and whatnot. According to key witnesses with whom Yvel had spoken on July 27, Ralf Nozil kept calling on Yvel to go out for beer and and to come relax at his house. Yvel refused several times. While Yvel was with family members, Ralf insisted on cal- ling, but people around Yvel told him not to go out. They pointed out that security in the country is too unstable for him to move about without care. Yvel was in Arcahaie at his cousin’s place when he was being invited by Ralf. Imagine something else. He had in his possession the car which caused the blowup with Roney. Anyway, his cousin insisted that Yvel should stay home that night.

After he left Arcahaie at about 7:00 pm, on his way to Nerette, Yvel continued to receive calls from Ralf who kept insisting that they go out for a drink. Yvel’s cousin, who was driving, kept telling him to stay home. After Yvel’s cousin dropped him off, around 8:30, Ralf continued to call. By that time, Yvel kept ignoring the calls. Yvel’s wife affirmed that she was on a call with him at about 10 pm, when Ralf kept calling. Yvel told his wife about how that Ralf had been calling him all day to invite him to go out. Again, during the conversation with his wife, Ralf called. Yvel told his wife it’s him again. She told him to go ahead and answer. He did. Apparently, he let himself be convinced by Ralf to come out.

According to Yvel’s wife younger sister, she says that Yvel left the house without anyone’s knowledge to go meet Ralf outside. Apparently, Ralf, along with two other people identified as officer Wilson Loiseau and another unidentified individual were in a vehicle waiting for Yvel to come out. Once Yvel entered the vehicle, a scuffle broke out. People in the neighborhood heard the ruckus. Some say they observed the vehicle rocking, as if there was a fight going on. Other wit- nesses said they saw four people in the vehicle: Ralf at the wheel, Wilson as the front seat passenger, Yvel and one other passenger in the back. The identity of that individual has not been revealed.

During the scuffle, a gun went off. But the vehicle continued to shake as if someone was struggling to get out. Again, according to people in the neighborhood, they saw Yvel opened the door, trying to escape, while begging for help. A couple of bystanders asked what was happening,  At first, there was no response. Meanwhile, the assailants put a bullet proof vest and a badge around Yvel’s neck and told the by standers that it was just a drunk police officer having fun.

On noticing Yvel lying on the street unconscious, Ralf claimed that he tried to take him to the hospital, but the car wouldn’t start. He then called a motorcycle, placed Yvel on the motorcycle and took him to Citymed hospital, which declined service. Ralf called for another car and finally took Yvel to the Bernard Mevs hospital. But he was already dead, according to the hospital staff.

Once Yvel was pronounced dead, Ralf who had remained at the hospital, called a friend of Yvel’s cousin to deliver the bad news to him. Meanwhile, Wilson Loisaeu and the unidentified assailant were lurking around the hospital. The friend of Yvel’s cousin rushed to the hospital in a car different from Yvel’s. There were suspicions that Yvel’s car was recognizable, thus he didn’t want to be hurt by those who had killed Yvel.

When the friend of Yvel’s cousin arrived at the emergency room and was told that Yvel arrived at the hospital in the situation he was, he went outside in distress, He noticed Ralf in the yard of the hospital talking on the telephone with someone. Based on what several police officers on site said, Ralf was explaining what had happened to someone who was not far from the hospital. The friend of Yvel’s cousin asked Ralf what really happened and he said it was an accident, that Wilson’s gun went off and hit Yvel in the leg. No one, including the judge of the peace, hospital staff, and others can understand how Yvel could have died from a small bullet wound near his knee cap of his right leg.

The justice phase

Ralf was arrested, then Wilson a day later. However, the third assailant remains at large. Based on what Ralf said in court (Tribunal de paix), he claims it was an accident. The story he gave is that while Wilson was opening the car door to get out, his gun went off and hit Yvel in the leg and killed him. Imagine that Yvel was sitting directly behind Ralf who was the driver. No one until this day understands how such “an accident” can take the life of an innocent man. After being jailed at the main prison in Port au Prince, Ralf Nozil was released without the Celestin family’s knowledge. Based on several trusted sources, this Ralf Nozil is currently living in the United States, either in Florida or in New York where he has a child with a mistress in Brooklyn, New York. As for Wilson Loiseau, sources say he is still in prison. That hasn’t been confirmed.

The funeral

Saint Patrick Church, Jersey City, NJ, on the 24th day of August, 2019, funeral services were held for Yvel Celestin who was a role model, a community leader, and a vital member of that church. Hundreds of mourners of different ethnic backgrounds came to witness the funeral of their beloved son, father, leader, and friend. The attendants arrived from different countries and states including Haiti, Canada, France, Florida, New York, Connecticut, Maryland, Boston, Pennsylvania, Ohio and more. The pain was so unbearable, no one had the strength to even take pictures or videos. There were more than ten priests giving final thoughts and memories of Yvel. Finally, Yvel was laid to rest next to his father, Pierre B. Célestin

The twist

The biggest issue at this point after this tragedy for the Célestin Family is that the remaining brothers, sisters, aunts, nephews, nieces, or anyone with the Célestin last name are facing danger. Unidentified individuals, from a few days after the murder of Yvel, and until now, have been going to Arcahaie asking about Yvel’s family home and business locations. Men in cars with no license plates or on motorcycles are going around Arcahaie asking for specific information about the Célestin family. Will justice ever be served? Will Yvel ever rest in peace? Will members of this family ever be able to live a normal life without looking over their shoulders? While the answers to these questions may remain unanswered, one thing is certain, the Célestin family will never give in to criminal acts, threats, and injustice. This family has been great and will so remain!

“Yvel, rest assure that you will never be forgotten. Arcahaie misses you. Jersey City misses you. Most importantly, the less fortunate and the oppressed will always miss you.” Those involved in your assassination will never sleep peacefully and regrets and shame will forever be theirs.’

Cet article est publié par l’hebdomadaire Haïti-Observateur, édition du 15 janvier 2020 VOL. L, No. 2 New York, et se trouve en P. 1, 3 à :