'It's double stress!'
Widow tries to cope as son charged in father's murderThursday, August 12, 2021
BY HORACE HINES
PETERSFIELD, Westmoreland - Camille Foster and her husband Garnett shot to national attention earlier this year after being highlighted for opening up their Bullet Tree, Petersfield, home in Westmoreland to assist children with online learning in the absence of face-to-face classes in the wake of the school lockdowns occasioned by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
But Camille's entire world was torn apart on July 23, while she was abroad, on receiving news that her husband had been fatally stabbed at their home and their eldest of four children accused of the dastardly act.
But, despite the tragic loss of her husband, who was a minister at the Church of God of the Mountain Assembly, the grief-stricken mother is bent on still offering free classes to the children in her community when school reopens in September.
“It depends on the parents, if they want it. If they need the help I want to continue with it, because I know my husband would want that. Both of us were doing it, so once the parents want it, it wouldn't be a problem for me, because I'm going to be home. Everything is in place already, so it's just to restart,” she told the Jamaica Observer West.
Garnett was reportedly stabbed to death as he slept in a bed alongside the couple's two-year-old daughter.
Yesterday, a senior investigator close to the case told the Observer West that the couple's son, who turned 18 last month, has been charged with murder in connection with the incident after a question-and-answer session in the presence of his attorney.
The distressed mother recounted that it was her son, now behind bars, who called informing her of the tragedy, saying, “Mommy, dem say a me kill Daddy!”
“I said to him, 'Mi nah think 'bout that, because how could you really do that?'
I was just focusing on my husband at that time, you know, praying that he pulls through,” she explained.
“It's double stress, trust me! Last week [Monday] night was the best sleep I got since all of this,” she said, followed by a heavy sigh.
She disclosed that, for now, along with her three other children, they have relocated from the home in which the incident occurred in an effort to avoid the memories and trauma of being in the space.
The children, she said, are still devastated by the memory of their blood-drenched father hobbling into their room with a knife stuck in his neck.
“I had to take myself away, take myself away from pictures, take the kids away, because they are constantly crying. So, last week [Monday] night was the best night for all of us.
“I have to [also] think about my son, I think about my husband. I really, really miss him, honestly, oh, God. It's hard. It's really, really hard,” she lamented.
Camille said she was informed by her children that it was their accused sibling who prayed during the usual family devotion at bedtime before the knife attack.
“They [children] didn't see it [the stabbing], they only saw when their father came in the room with the knife in his neck. That's what they saw and that's what is haunting them. And even yesterday (Monday) the eight-year-old broke down and he was crying saying he missed daddy. He was a good father, excellent father. He loved his kids so they are going to miss him. They are going to miss that part. I am not talking about the husband and wife part, the father part. He was a good husband, too,” the widow said.
She, however, had high praises for new-found friends who have continued to lend her support since the incident.
“My support system is my friends. And it's not so much the people that I know, it's the people that I don't know. When the article went viral they reached out to me, and since the incident they have been my biggest supporters. Trust me, it's overwhelming. They keep me going every day, every single day…” she said.
On the morning of the killing, Verona Foster, mother of the deceased, said about 5:40 on that day she was awakened by her 18-year-old grandson, who informed her in a phone call that his father was hurt.
She said that as she was about to set out for her son's house, not far away in the community, she saw him walking towards her. The bereaved mother told the Jamaica Observer that while clutching a neck wound, her blood-drenched son complained that he had been stabbed. Shortly after, he collapsed and was rushed to hospital where he died while undergoing medical attention.
Several community members who gathered at the crime scene expressed their shock and disbelief at the killing of the community activist.