THE father of an 11-month-old boy and common-law husband of the child’s mother, who is said to be mentally ill and who reportedly confessed to killing the child early last Thursday morning, is still in a state of shock.
Lynval Mattison still cannot understand why Michelle Stewart, 40, also called Ver, allegedly killed their son — Lyndon ‘Jerry’ Mattison — just days ahead of his first birthday, which would have been celebrated this Tuesday.
“Mi can’t eat nothing. Is like every time mi try to eat, a big lump in mi throat,” Mattison, who works with Jamaica Producers Group, told the Jamaica Observer on Friday.
“Mi love the baby bad, bad,” he added in obvious distress.
On Thursday morning, Mattison got up and made cornmeal porridge for baby Lyndon and prepared breakfast for his child’s mother before leaving for work.
Nothing prepared him for the horrific news he got later that morning via phone: their infant son had been chopped to death at their Fort George Road home, and the woman he lived with had confessed to the infanticide after turning herself in to the Annotto Bay police.
A very emotional Mattison said he has been in a relationship with Stewart for nine years and that he loved her and supported her all the way. “Mi stick to her, make sure she have everything, make sure she take her medication,” he said, referring to her prescription pills for an undisclosed mental condition.
Mattison said he made sure that Stewart always took her medication, so he just cannot figure out what happened to prompt such a violent act that fateful Thursday morning. He said that when he left home for work, there were no signs that anything was wrong with her.
According to the woman’s common-law husband, Stewart had never hurt the child in any way before.
Mattison said that although Stewart has had a mental condition for years, it was during her pregnancy that he started to realise how serious it was. However, despite her erratic behaviour, he said he continued to support and take care of her.
Mattison said he grew very close to his son and became the designated caregiver shortly after his birth, because the child’s mother had to remain in hospital for some time after delivery.
He described coming home from work in the evenings to be met on the veranda by his gurgling baby boy.
“As him hear the gate open, him push di door open and deh pon ‘da, da, da’,” a teary-eyed Mattison recalled.
“Mi can’t stay here. Mi can’t deal wid it,” he said as he explained that the memories associated with the home will make it hard for him to continue to live there after the tragedy.
Although Mattison said he knows Stewart would not have hurt, or killed the baby, or any other child if she was in her right state of mind, he couldn’t imagine being able to continue a relationship with her.
“Mi scared fi live with her again,” he said, frankly, and explained that he had slept in the same bed with Stewart nightly but would not feel comfortable sleeping with her again.
“Mi love her, but mi get scared,” Mattison said.
The grieving father said that when he visited her at the police station on Thursday and asked her what happened, she told him the baby was dead and that she had killed him.
He added that when he asked her why, she just kept shaking her head without offering an answer.
Stewart reportedly partially severed her baby’s head from its body and inflicted several chop wounds on the child about 6:30 am last Thursday. Afterwards, she walked into the Annotto Bay Police Station to confess.
Stewart, who is a vendor, has two other children from another relationship. They did not live with her and Mattison.
Her stepmother Levanie Carter, who raised her, said Stewart started having mental problems years ago after she gave birth to a set of twins who died soon after.
Carter believes that Stewart must have missed her date to go and get her medication, as it is only when she is not on her medication that she behaves “outrageous”.
While the family tries to cope with the tragic incident, residents of the community have expressed anger at the police for not intervening in a potentially volatile situation.
They claim that the woman had visited the Annotto Bay Police Station on Wednesday asking that they take the child from her.
The police, they said, took the woman to hospital but no one who spoke with the Sunday Observer seemed clear on why she was later allowed to go home with the child.
“Is not the woman dem fi investigate, is the police,” one resident told the Sunday Observer.
“She wouldn’t kill her baby if she did have sense; she wouldn’t even kill somebody else baby if she did have sense,” the man said, explaining that the police should have taken the baby from Stewart when she went to them on Wednesday.
“She go down a station fi go tell dem fi tek the baby from her, and dem still mek she leave wid him,” the very upset resident stated.
When the Sunday Observer sought to confirm that Stewart had indeed gone to the police on Wednesday, a cop at the Annotto Bay station directed the newspaper to the Port Maria Police Station. But a call to Port Maria resulted in a cop there redirecting the Sunday Observer to the Annotto Bay Police Station.
Mattison said that after the death of his son, he, too, had heard that Stewart had gone to the police on Wednesday. However, the police had not said anything to him about this alleged visit.
He said that the police knew Stewart because he had taken her picture to them after she went missing from home for an extended period last year. He also said that the cops should have informed him if she had gone to them prior to the death of their son.