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'A dead spirit come pon mi'

Elderly man mourns demise of mentally-ill daughter

Monday, August 19, 2019

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BOYSIE Swaby was hoping that his 49-year-old daughter Sharon, who had mental health challenges, would have returned to their home in Seaview Gardens by yesterday morning. But things took a sombre turn when residents summoned him after learning that a body that appeared to be that of his daughter had been fished from a gully on Pacific Boulevard, not far from a state of public emergency (SOE) checkpoint in the community.

Swaby, 84, told the Jamaica Observer yesterday morning that Sharon, otherwise called Marie, left the family home approximately 5:30 am Saturday. He said it wasn't unusal for her to visit nearby shops, but when he saw that she left her money on a table in the house, he got a sense of foreboding.

Sitting on a wooden bench in his front yard, the distraught father said when she didn't return home throughtout the day on Saturday, he feared the worst, but hoped he wouldn't have to report her missing.

“From she tek up harself and lef' here at 5:30…mi say, 'bwoy, why she gone?', because a piece of dead spirit come pon mi,” he said.

He said Sharon was on medication and would not have gone far from home.

When the Observer visited the home yesterday morning, Swaby, who has six other children, said he was trying to stay strong for Sharon's mother, who was at church at the time and was not aware of her demise.

However, the neighbours had got wind of news concerning Sharon's death.

One of them, Cecile Rodgers, expressed shock.

“…She go shop and she go roun' and she greet everybody; is Marie dat. If she nuh see mi, yuh hear shi come call mi 'cause mi live down the road. Everybody knows her, everybody,” Rodgers said as she stood in front of Swaby's gate.

Rodgers said she had known Sharon for over 30 years.

“Something just went wrong. When I came here (to live) she was a child, she was going to Holy Childhood High School. She was a very intelligent girl until she got sick,” the elderly woman said.

Another neighbour, Alton Gordon, noted the close proximity of the SOE checkpoint to the gully from which the woman's body had been fished.

“SOE is at the same place and nobody saw her or could assist her,” he exclaimed, standing behind his gate.”

“We are like family; a family right off here so. She not passing and don't call to mi. As long as she si mi she a go call to mi. Maybe is because mi know har so long and know say she sickly why it really get to me,”Gordon added.

A relative told the Observer yesterday that the police had indicated that there was no evidence of foul play and that they would have to rely on a post-mortem to determine cause of death.


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