Fri | Dec 9, 2016

Community struggles to cope with death of St Thomas teen

Published:Wednesday | March 4, 2015 | 11:07 PMCorey Robinson
Eloise Brown, grandmother of 14-year-old Kayalicia Simpson, leans on her cousin Roy Harris for support at a nearby home in St Thomas yesterday.
A boy stands at the spot where 14-year-old Kayalicia Simpson was chopped to death when she went to use a bathroom outside her home in St Thomas a day earlier on Tuesday.
The home where 14-year-old Kayalicia Simpson, who was chopped to death when she went to use the outside bathroom seen in the background.
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The Newlands Housing Scheme in St Thomas was yesterday still in mourning, a day after the murder of 14-year-old Kayalicia Simpson, the Donald Quarrie High School student who was hacked to death during a predawn attack metres from her home.

"It is really sad; they have stopped progress for her and for the community. This makes three murders that we have had in this area since month and I don't know what is going on," lamented an elderly resident and neighbour of Eloise Brown, Simpson's grandmother.

A day after residents protested the killing, some vowing jungle justice for the murderers, the elderly man, helped slowly up a hill by his neighbour, Mrs Jackson, had come to lend support to Brown, still shivering in grief up to late yesterday afternoon.

"It is really sad, I just don't understand how someone could kill a little just girl like that," agreed Mrs Jackson as she and her elderly friend offered words of encouragement to Brown from outside the yard's perimetre fence.

Inside, an unresponsive Brown gazed openly.

"I have been feeling pain in my back and the lower part of hereso," she told The Gleaner. "I fainted when I heard the news and hit my back. From yesterday I have been taking pain killers for it."

Since the incident, Brown said she has been staying with relatives. She has abandoned the house she once shared with Simpson, claiming that the building is a ghastly reminder of the incident as well as her failure to protect the child, whose mother died tragically several years ago. Brown said she has not slept since Tuesday.

"I don't eat, I don't close my eyes since this thing start," she said. "I want the police them to come. I want them to come and solve this thing fast."

Brown was also upset that her son was one of several persons taken from the community for questioning by the police. According to her, her son was taken for questioning in the same clothes that he had worn to work the day before.

"There is no way that him coulda hurt her in that gruesome way and not even a speck of blood is not on the clothes that him have on. So I want to know why them have him down at the station."

Yesterday the police revealed that several persons, including at least four who lived at the house with the teenager, were being questioned in relation to her death.

The police confirmed that all but one of the persons have been released, but declined to name the detainee for the sake of preserving the investigation.

In the meantime, Deputy Superintendent of Police Beresford Williams, acting commander for St Thomas, yesterday morning could not say when an autopsy would be done on Simpson's body, noting that there are a number of autopsies pending since mid-February.

Williams could not speak to the residents' claims that Simpson was killed by a relative who had impregnated her, but yesterday residents remained dogmatic in their beliefs.

Official media reports are that young Simpson was killed about 5:00 am while preparing for school. But yesterday Brown disputed those reports, explaining that her granddaughter was on the evening shift at school and that she had gone to bed in her uniform blouse Monday night. Her only reason for leaving the house was to use the bathroom, said a weeping Brown, as her pastor consoled her.

Brown's home is located several metres away from the pit latrine she reportedly left her house to use. She was killed metres away from the latrine in an area used to burn coal. Yesterday, residents still grimaced in horror as they viewed cellular phone photographs of Simpson's body crumpled over on the blackened ground.

- Additional reporting by Jolyn Bryan