MONTEGO BAY, St James — A question of paternity, which escalated into bullying, is said to have led to the death of 15-year-old Holmwood Technical High School student Nastacia Turner in Mendez Town, Trelawny, on Tuesday.
The girl's 15-year-old cousin was taken into custody in relation to her death immediately after.
Initial reports were that the two girls were fighting when they both fell and Turner hit her head.
But according to Nastacia's mother, Latoya Reece, the father of her daughter had refused to accept paternity and this resulted in his niece bullying her at school.
The mother told the Jamaica Observer that she made multiple visits to the school after receiving complaints from her daughter. However, the issue was never addressed due to its nature and she sought ways to protect her daughter.
"Even though I went to the school and spoke to them, I noticed that she was still being bullied. So one day I went to school and explained to the principal that I want a transfer," Reece said.
Her attempt at switching schools, she said, was met with roadblocks.
"The principal wrote two letters and gave them to me — one to give to Christiana High and the other to Spalding High. But the schools said that they can't take students in the middle of the school term," Reece explained.
The alleged bullying did not stop and the mother said she was forced to escalate the matter to the police as her daughter shared that she could not bear it any more.
"She still had issues with her cousin. They were saying bad things about her and would constantly pick on her," Reece said.
"I remember one evening I was at a hairdresser shop and she came crying that they are troubling her and she cannot take it any more," the mother recounted.
"She said that she was not going back to school. I called someone at the school and they said that I should report it to the [police] station. I went to the Christiana Police Station and the police gave me a receipt to visit the Wait-A-Bit Police Station. The Wait-A-Bit police went with me to one of the kids' house to speak to her parents. That child did not bother Nastacia any more, but her cousin continued to trouble her," the mother said.
She also said that her appeals to her daughter's paternal family did not yield any results.
"I went to aunt, grandma, father and nothing was ever done. I don't see who I didn't ask to help me. The father said that they are just children. He didn't care," Reece told the Observer.
She said that on Tuesday, moments before the tragedy, her daughter had shared more concerns regarding her return to school. She said that Nastacia had said her cousin and friends hid her school bag.
"She turned to me and said that she is not going back because she is not sure she is going to make it. She said that she was sick and tired. She was anaemic and was also on her period, so she said that because she was in the sun walking around trying to find her bag, she felt very weak," Reece said.
"She told me to get two painkillers for her. So I went to ask my sister for the pain pill and I saw her cousin coming down the road," Reece said, adding that that was the start of the incident which changed her life.
"I don't know where she went but I saw her coming back. She started to sing a [rude] song when she saw that I was coming up the hill, but I didn't pay her any mind. My other daughter is always sitting down the road. I heard her scream out and when I looked down the road, I saw her rolling down the hill. She said that the cousin pushed her down into the bush," said the mother as she fought back tears.
"I ran to take her out of the bush and Nastacia also came to help me with her sister. The cousin came back over and was standing in front of Nastacia like she wanted to fight. Nastacia asked her why she can't behave herself," Reece told the Observer.
Pointing out that Nastacia did not attempt to fight her cousin, the mother said she could not believe what she saw next.
"I saw when the cousin pushed her and she dropped on her head," the mother claimed.
Reece further told the Observer that while her daughter was lying on the ground, her father came to pick up his niece and took her to the police station.
The incident, she said, has left her traumatised.
"I have not slept or eaten since my daughter died," she said.
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