Dad of 7-y-o declines comment on reports child dies from blunt-force traumaThursday, July 22, 2021
BY HORACE MILLS
LINSTEAD, St Catherine — Rohan Russell, the father of seven-year-old Tianna who died from blunt-force trauma, yesterday declined comment on the controversial circumstances leading up to her death.
“Not at this time,” he told the Jamaica Observer before ending the phone call.
Family members yesterday told the Observer that an autopsy done a day earlier had identified the worrying cause of death.
The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) reported that about 1:30 am on June 28, Tianna's father took her to Linstead Public Hospital, claiming that he heard her struggling to breathe. The child was pronounced dead shortly after.
According to the JCF, its officers, who were summoned to the medical facility, saw “several marks” on Tianna's body. The marks were suggestive of abuse, the police said.
Ahead of the post-mortem, detectives charged Tianna's 39-year-old father and her 27-year-old stepmother Lorraine Fletcher with child abuse. They appeared in court on July 7 and were offered bail in the sum of $300,000 each.
Tianna's biological mother, Claudia Francis, died four years ago after a battle with illness. Since then, the child had been living with her father and stepmother at New Works in the Linstead area of St Catherine.
One of the child's maternal aunts, Verona Francis, told the Observer that both sides of Tianna's family showed up in Kingston on Tuesday to observe the post-mortem.
“It's really heart-rending,” she said, while recounting her effort to gain custody of the late child following the death of her mother.
The aunt added that she has had to seek counselling for Tianna's teenage brother who lives with her.
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