Regional

Mother of dead ward of the state mourns loss

Thursday, February 27, 2014    

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GRANVILLE, Trelawny — GRIEF-STRICKEN mother Cecile Ferguson, a resident of Waterhouse, St Andrew, had been busy making plans to celebrate her daughter Carlene Sabrina Young's — a ward of the state at the Granville Child Care Facility — 17th birthday on March 3.

But all hopes of spending time with the teenager on that special day were dashed last week Thursday after the juvenile's body was pulled from a shallow grave in the Hague Settlement community, just days after she absconded the facility, formerly known as the Granville Place of Safety, to spend time with her 33-year-old male lover.

"Ah get mi ah get ready to come down for my baby's birthday, the third of March and a dis mi get fi mi baby birthday," rued the grieving mother.

The police were summoned to the Hague Settlement community on Thursday after a second girl, who had also run away from the facility, informed staff at the home that Carlene's body was buried in bushes at that area.

The Jamaica Observer West was told that Carlene, who suffers from acute diabetes and had to be treated at hospital weekly, was seen frothing at the mouth and nose and was not responding to 'treatment' the night before her body was recovered.

A police source told the Observer West that after efforts made to revive the ailing teenager proved futile, "persons in her company became convinced" that the girl was dead and took a decision to bury her.

On Monday, the results of a post-mortem into the death of Carlene at the Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay revealed that the girl died of natural causes.

This means that the two men in custody and the third one being sought may not be slapped with murder charges in connection with the teen's death, added the police source.

An Observer West source close to the results of the post-mortem said it was also revealed that the girl died 16 hours before she was buried.

The source also added that the examination also showed that the child died as a result of haemorrhage in the brain, caused by juvenile diabetes.

But the distressed mother of the dead teenager, who had to be comforted by her sister Ann-Marie Edwards and their cousin Shaunn Murray, — who accompanied her to the hospital to hear the results of the post-mortem on Monday — is insisting that her daughter died as a result of negligence on the part of her lover.

"You a tell mi seh a big 33-year-old man a go keep mi baby in a him possession. Yuh see when sugar (diabetes) a tek yuh it nuh just like it tek yuh and kill yuh. She had to be there for a while before she black out. Yuh know how long dem sit down and watch mi baby before she dead. And dem going tell mi say a no dem kill her, is dem just bury her," argued the distraught mother.

"Dem sit down and watch her dead. Dem know she supposed to be taking her medication, dem know she not supposed to be eating what they are eating, dem a give her the food what dem a eat, dem sit down and watch her dead. If that a nuh murder, mi nuh want know murder. Yuh sit down and watch mi baby suffer till she dead. That is hotter than murder."

The distraught mother also vented her anger at the Child Development Agency (CDA), who operates the facility, for not informing her that her daughter had absconded, even after they had notified the police and social workers.

Noting that Carlene spent "more time at hospital" than at the Granville Child Care Facility, the grieving mother also questioned why the CDA, did not check with a relative of the girl "who they are fully aware" lives in close proximity to the institution, or the juvenile's lover.

She pointed out that she only learnt of her daughter's demise after her sister who lives in Deeside, Trelawny, heard a news item on the radio and informed her.

The Trelawny police have reported a high level of truancy at the Granville Child Care Facility, which houses girls between the ages of eight and 18 years old.

There are currently approximately 50 wards at the facility.

Community members also told the Observer West, that over the years, a number of males have been seen lining up outside the perimeter fencing at the facility talking to girls, many of who frequently leave in their company.

Last week, chief executive officer of the CDA Rosalee Gage Gray, who along with a team of counsellors visited the institution, gave an assurance that security has been beefed up at the facility in a bid to restrict wards from escaping.

She implored members of the community not to assist the girls in leaving the property without permission.

Meanwhile, a perturbed Ferguson told the Observer West that 14 years ago she decided to migrate from her native, rural Deeside district in search of opportunity in the urban area, leaving Carlene in the care of her father.

According to her, some time afterwards, the child developed diabetes and was subsequently housed at the Granville Child Care Facility.

Ferguson claimed that her request to have her daughter live with her in Waterhouse was denied by the CDA, citing that her one-room dwelling was inadequate to accommodate the child.

The devastated mother also alleged that efforts to get the CDA to relocate the child closer to where she lives proved futile.

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