Painful - Mom told teen to 'come in' before he was murdered
It was as if God was trying to tell her to urgently reach out to her son, Stephan McLaren, in the wee hours of New Year's morning before he was stabbed to death by an unknown assailant.
Evelyn Barton, indeed, made the call to her son, a promising young cricketer, with some of her final words of instruction to him being, "Come in".
"Is like God wake mi up after 4 o'clock in the morning, Sunday morning, and tell mi seh mi fi call mi son and say, 'Come in', and a dat mi do. Mi say, 'Stephan, come in', and him answer mi and say, 'Yes, Mommy'.
"Mi say, 'Alright, Stephan', and mi hang up di phone and mi go back to sleep a little bit. It was coming up to [the time to] get ready to go to church. [I was] turning around and a fix likkle breakfast to go to church," Barton related.
What happened next would send her into a state of shock that would then force doctors at the University Hospital of the West Indies to quickly sedate her.
"My friend call mi - the other cricketer's mother - and say Stephan get stab and mi fi come! Jesus Christ! Mi friend tek taxi come up here for me. Mi go out [and] a pure crying go right to University. When I reach University Hospital, di doctor and di nurse dem ... hold mi and dem put mi pon [the] bed. I couldn't keep up. Dem gimme injection fi calm me down. A last night (Sunday) mi come in here and mi couldn't sleep. All now mi cyaa sleep," Barton told The Gleaner yesterday as she wept bitterly.
Stephan left home Saturday night for a New Year's party with friends.
After leaving the party, he was walking along Hagley Park Road with three other boys, headed for home. He stopped at a spot about a block away from the party's location to urinate.
Shortly after, Stephan's friends, who were already a little distance in front, saw him rushing towards them saying that he had been stabbed. They immediately organised to get help for him to be transported to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
His mother continued: "We don't know why dem kill him. Dem mussi couldn't get fi search him [because] dem nuh tek nothing from him. Mi get him things dem, but dem tek him life. Mi have him phone and mi have him billfold, suh weh dem did want?"
Stephan was preparing to play Grace Shield cricket when school reopens for the Easter term.
He spent five years at Pembroke Hall High School, but because of his exceptional cricketing abilities, he was offered a sixth-form spot at Calabar High School to develop his talent further and possibly help lead his new school to the championship title.
His mother said that she had gone to the school to ask that they be easy on him since she had to take him to the doctor after he complained of back pain following cricket training.
"See him medicine right deh suh," she said as she pointed to two boxes of medication on a table nearby. "Him just did a come 'round back (recover) and a get jolly and a get ready fi go play Grace Shield."
Seventeen-year-old Stephan was the only son for his parents.
Barton feverishly appealed to the mother of whoever carried out the act to "bring him in".
His coach, Sean Newell, described Stephan as a very quiet boy. He did not get to play the Grace Shield games for Calabar.
"He was humble, more than anything. You wouldn't see him speak out of context; very respectful. The youngsters look up to him because he brings a lot of experience. We haven't gone through a season with him. We were just basically in training with him and played a few practice matches. Based on his skill set, [he was] very talented," Newell told The Gleaner.
A practice game was in place for today, which he would have been an integral part of as the number four batsman.
The Grace Shield competition is set to start in the next two weeks.