jamaicaobserver.com- Five people are now in custody in relation to the gruesome killing of an 11-year-old Hanover girl.
The girl, identified as Tricia Morris of Woodland, Hanover, attended Watford Hill Primary School in the parish.
According to Deputy Superintendent Dahlia Garrick, head of the constabulary’s Corporate Communication Unit (CCU), one of the five was picked up Tuesday, while three were held yesterday morning during an operation in Haddington district, and another later in the day.
“The investigation is being done by the Major Investigation Division and Hanover investigators,” said Garrick. She added that support has been given to the family and community from the Victim Support Unit, Community Safety and Security Branch, the Chaplaincy Unit, and the local church community, who have been in the community offering counselling.
A police report said about 7:00 pm Saturday Tricia left home for evening service at the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the community; however, she never made it and a missing person’s report was subsequently made to the police.
Police said the little girl was found partially clothed, with signs that she may have been sexually assaulted. Garrick told the Jamaica Observer that the police were awaiting the forensic report to determine if she had been raped.
“From the observation made at the scene, it is suspected that she might have been sexually assaulted, but we are awaiting the forensics to confirm that,” Garrick said.
“We are calling on the public and residents of the area to remain calm, and whatever information they have on this incident to share it with the police. They may do so by calling the Hanover CIB at 876-956-2304, 311 or 119,” Garrick stated.
Yesterday, president of the West Jamaica Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Pastor Glen Samuels called for a conscious awakening among the nation in the wake of the barbaric killing of the 11-year-old girl, whose body was discovered three days after she went missing.
On Tuesday morning the worst fears of community and family members were realised when she was found in nearby bushes with multiple wounds to her body.
The gruesome discovery comes when the nation is still mourning the killing of eight-year-old Shantae Skyers in her Sterling Castle, Red Hills, St Andrew, community.
Skyers’ body was found in her community five days after she went missing. Her body was found amongst rubble in an area known as Blue Hole in the community.
“There needs to be a national conscious awakening, because soon there will be no (safe) place left for anyone if our children can’t leave their home to go to church, and if they can’t leave school to get home in safety…because we are not our brother’s keepers,” Pastor Samuels said.
“Even if she was not member of the church, even if she was not a church member, our children ought to be protected in our society. A nation is judged by how it treats its most vulnerable. And what is happening to us is this barbaric, conscience-less, vicious, cold-blooded murder of the elderly and the very young. There is no respect for life regardless of age or stage in this country. And it is a sad stage to which we have come,” said the pastor.
A male resident of the Pond community, where the girl’s body was found theorised that the perpetrator of the murder is a from the community.
“It must be somebody from the community,” the aggrieved man told the Observer.
“The little girl is a church pickney. Her ‘mother’ decided she was not going back to church because she was tired, but she sent her,” said the resident.
“It is puzzling. She went missing from Saturday and somebody should have seen the body as it was found in bushes near the roadside. And it is just between the church and her house,” said the concerned resident.
Councillor of the Hopewell Division Devon Brown said the child was given to the guardian by her mother at the age of four, just a month before the mother died. He has encouraged people with information to come forward to facilitate the police in doing a proper investigation in bringing the perpetrators to justice.