Police had counted the number of wounds in the heinous November 8 stabbing incident of a woman by her jealous ex-lover as 20.
Now, make that 30.
The medical report confirmed that Nalia Dennis, now 21, who is miraculously alive to talk about her ordeal, suffered wounds that, on any other day, and to any other individual, would have resulted in a fatality.
Now, Dennis is left with, to her, the only option available — that is to turn to God. It's a decision she had been contemplating up to 11 days before her November 19 birthday.
Struggling to speak and unsure she will ever be able to walk again, the Annotto Bay, St Mary, resident told the Jamaica Observer that she had planned to get baptised on November 21. Instead, she spent that day in a hospital bed praying that she will be able to see her family again.
“Mi a look into myself and say look how long God a call mi to come to Him and now this come reach me,” she said in an exclusive interview with this newspaper.
Her intention, she said, was to commit to the Lord after her 21st birthday, but she was hesitant.
“When November start I was saying 'Mi ready to give my life to God', but I was planning to go out for my birthday and just have fun and drink because I don't really party; and then go to church on the Sunday and tell the pastor that I'm ready to give my life to the Lord,” she told the Sunday Observer.
“I'm feeling really happy that I live to see another day, and I think that God gave me a second chance at life and I'm going to give Him my life fully,” she added.
Police are still trying to locate the man who allegedly inflicted the 30 brutal stabs to her body in St Mary.
Though her wish is for the police to locate her abuser, she believes the justice system will not give him the deserving penalty.
“Right now, to the amount of things him do to mi from mi start talk to him to now, he won't get the full amount of time that he deserves. But mi leave everything in God's hands, so He will decide his destiny,” she said
The suspect, who is the father of her two-year-old daughter, started to show his abusive side when she got pregnant, Dennis told the Sunday Observer.
“From mi pregnant mi decide that I was going to end the relationship, because I started to see his true colours. When mi want to go to my family house him start have problems with it. I can't talk on my phone because he listens and search my phone. The first time him box mi in my face him say how me a neglect the baby, and it wasn't my baby crying because the baby was on the bed beside me,” she said.
“But mi just overlook that and still stay in the relationship because I was saying relationships have ups and down,” she added.
At the onset of the relationship, according to Dennis, he was very compassionate towards her. He was also respected by many in the community, leaving her to believe he would be a good partner.
“When we just stared talking he was really nice to me, and he would get me anything I wanted, and because a lot of people in the community show him respect, mi decide to try [because] he was trying to get with me for a while,” she said.
As their relationship progressed, the abuse got worse, Dennis said, and she decided to run to a place of safety — her family home — after he threatened to kill her in April 2020.
“The second time him beat mi up and mash up all my face and even have a knife that he was going to kill me because him claim to say mi a cheat and all of that,” she said. “I was not doing anything, but him just jealous and all those things. I couldn't deal with it.”
According to Dennis, since both of them lived on the same street in Annotto Bay, he was able to track her every move.
“After mi break up with him, him always a trail mi, and if mi stand up a talk to somebody him ride pass or so just to look who mi talking to,” she told the Sunday Observer.
Dennis alleged that, on the night of Sunday, November 7, the man came to her house to start an argument.
“Him come up a mi house and when mi go out to talk, him start ask about relationship and mi tell him that I'm not interested and I'm only living for me and I don't want anyone giving me any problems,” Dennis said.
She said that the following night he returned and saw her outside talking with a friend.
“Mi see him a ride come up and him stop at the car and tell the person who I was talking to that he should leave,” she said, adding that he told her friend to go.
Dennis said that after her friend left he started a conversation about their daughter, after which he attacked her.
Her bloodied body was found by her relatives the following morning at her aunt's shop close to her house.
“Mi remember when mi get the first stab and then mi nuh remember nothing after that. Is in the morning when mi hear the noise and mi look up and see my mother and mi tell her who stab mi up and then mi just knock out from there,” she shared.
“The doctor say, to how mi look when I came into the hospital, only a dead person carry that weight. So is only God why I'm here today,” Dennis said.
She received initial treatment at Annotto Bay Hospital, but because of the nature of the trauma case, she had to be transferred to Kingston Public Hospital, the English-speaking Caribbean's largest medical facility.
Based on information she gathered, Dennis said the attacker even attempted to return to look at her blood-covered body.
“Mi hear that when they found me, he heard that they found mi dead and he was riding to come and look at me. Then same time somebody shout out that I'm not dead and they should call the police and that's when him leave. So, if I had died nobody would have known it's him,” Dennis told the Sunday Observer.
Her last words were directed at women who find themselves in abusive relationships: “Please leave before these men take your life; they can be evil, and that is not love.”