Child horrors - CDA officers probing teen's death rescue killer, abused five-year-old
Investigators from the Child Development Agency (CDA) who rushed to Lowe River, Trelawny, in the wake of the reported killing of a 14-year-old by an 11-year-old found themselves having to rescue a five-year-old who was in desperate need of care and protection.
Rosalee Gage-Grey, head of the CDA, made the disclosure at a Gleaner Editors' Forum, which was held yesterday, as she sought to update the nation on interventions that have been taking place to assist the 11-year-old, who is the perpetrator behind the death of Oraine Johnson.
The five-year-old child was being sexually abused; however, the CDA boss declined to state the condition in which the child was found or other details surrounding the matter.
"It's at a delicate stage, so I don't want to get into the specifics," Gage-Grey said. "The police had actually referred the matter to us while the team was in the field, and so they had to respond to it," she added.
The child is in the custody of the CDA.
The 14-year-old schoolboy was killed in the community. His head was partially severed in a vicious machete attack, allegedly, by his 11-year-old schoolmate.
According to reports from residents, Johnson and the 11-year-old had a verbal altercation shortly after 4 o'clock on Monday afternoon. The younger child reportedly went away and returned with a machete, which he used to inflict several chop wounds on Johnson, one of which almost severed his head.
Gage-Grey said that the 11-year-old is now in the custody of the CDA, where counselling and support are being provided. She also painted a picture of the severity of abuse cases that the agency faces on a daily basis.
"The officers went into the community regarding the 11-year-old. We called them (the officers) as early as 7 o'clock and they were already on the road. Once they got in that community, they got a live report of a five-year-old who was being abused, and they had to deal with that and then had to go back to find the 11-year-old because we had to make sure that we saw him the same day," she told journalists at the newspaper's offices in downtown Kingston.
"They (Johnson and the 11-year-old) were friends, actually, based on the preliminary report from the officers who went. The primary objective was to go to see the other children, to assess how they were doing, and to talk to the families. There seems to be tension in the community based on what we are hearing, and the team is going in tomorrow (today) with other stakeholders as we recognise that the families need some support," she continued.
Floyd Green, state minister in the youth ministry, offered his condolences and sympathies to both families involved. He, however, stressed that it is critical that the offender be rescued.
"It is a difficult matter, and I know that persons are emotionally charged about it, but we always have to look at the interest of the child, regardless. Even the child who has committed this awful offence, we have to go in and we have to see what is happening, and that is the mandate to the CDA," he said.
"We have a first-responders team that will go into the communities and start working with siblings. At the end of the day, especially if there are other children involved, even if they are not directly involved in the incident, they, too, are impacted, and we want to ensure that any sort of trauma that they might have endured, that we can provide some counselling and guidance services," he said.