House of Horror! - Two children rescued but residents concerned that a young woman also needs saving
It started just over one week ago when a concerned neighbour called The Sunday Gleaner to report a suspected case of child abuse.
It came to a boil last Friday when officials of the Child Development Agency (CDA) and the police moved in to rescue a four-year-old girl and her eight-year-old uncle from premises on Meadowvale Drive, near Gregory Park, St Catherine.
But the concerned neighbours are not yet ready to celebrate as they still fear that 25-year-old Nashoya Bailey, who lives at the property, is being abused and could die if she is not also rescued.
According to the residents, over the past two years Nashoya has been living a life of hell, reportedly meted out by her mother, Carlene*, and her younger sister.
The neighbour, who called our newsroom, said he had grown tired of the wails and screams, which for months have permeated his community as Nashoya - who suffers from dementia and epilepsy - cries for help.
A visit to the community last Thursday confirmed the claims of the neighbour as our news team heard the blood-curdling wails of Nashoya begging for help.
At times she choked, her emaciated arm dangling from a skewed, decrepit window sill of the room where she reportedly spends most of her time locked up in isolation.
"Mi mother just nuh like me. She lock me up and gone. She nuh give me nutten fi eat and she beat me. Mi want to leave, unnuh help me nuh!" Nashoya screamed, as a handful of neighbours gathered nearby while keeping a safe distance from the premises.
They claimed nobody walks near the walls of that property because they fear they could be cursed by the mother.
Less that 24 hours later, our news team was back at the property. This time, representatives of the CDA and members of the police force were present and they were not afraid to enter the house which some neighbours have dubbed 'horror house'.
Inside the unkempt house they found a badly disfigured Bailey, her four-year-old daughter and her eight-year-old brother and Carlene, a seeming unconcerned mother/grandmother.
Carlene could not explain to the police, or the CDA investigators, why the children were out of school or why her daughter, who sleeps on the floor, was scarred on her face, arms and back.
She told the investigators that she takes care of the household with assistance from her other daughter and with money sent from abroad by her granddaughter's father.
"They go to school. What she a talk; nothing don't go so. We don't abuse her. When she have the fits she drop and hit her head," said Carlene, as she refuted the allegation of her daughter and the neighbours.
She blasted the neighbours for their intervention in the affairs of her house and deemed it an attack on her.
Carlene's other daughter, who arrived while the investigators were in action, supported her mother as she also dismissed the allegations.
But the concerned residents said that was no surprise to them.
"When we talk she say we don't like her, but what I am doing don't have nothing at all to do with her. We just want help for the girl and the baby dem. We don't want she dead over there and people say the community failed her. It happen all over; we can't afford it on Meadowvale Drive," said John Martin, a neighbour.
Other residents claimed Bailey, a budding cosmetologist, went into a downward spiral after returning from St Maarten, where she had her daughter about two years ago.
The residents could not say when her sickness started taking effect on her body, but said she has been living in her captive-like conditions for about two years.
At the end of the raid, the CDA investigators determined that the house was not conducive to the children's well-being and opted to move them.
"We are taking the children. We are going to place them before the court. We are going to put them in a place of safety until we can find somewhere suitable for them to go," said the male CDA officer Friday afternoon as his frowning female co-worker ushered the two infants into a waiting car.
A senior officer at the Caymanas Police Station said it was not the first time his office had responded to residents' complaints about the mother, but he said they did not have sufficient information yet to charge her with any crime.
While glad that help has come for the two young children, neighbours remain concerned about Nashoya, who they say needs protection from the State despite the protestations from her mother and sister.