Mon | Sep 24, 2018

Kadijah Saunders keeps her family crying

Published:Saturday | June 16, 2018 | 12:00 AMOkoye Henry/Gleaner Writer
Kadijah Saunders

Western Bureau:

Grief continues to consume the family of nine-year-old Kadijah Saunders, who was found dead in the Bog district, Westmoreland, last week.

Her mother, Cynthia Saunders, is overcome with grief and is wondering how she will be able to move forward from this heartbreaking ordeal that took place on Tuesday, June 5.

Cynthia told The Gleaner that she felt great pain knowing that she would never again be able to hold her daughter, whose short life was allegedly snuffed out by another child from the same community.

"It is a very traumatic situation because we never expected this at all. It has been lonely in the house," said a teary-eyed Cynthia. "Even one evening when we went out and was coming back, I was saying Kadijah would normally run out the house and hug me. If you have something, she would say, 'Let me help you with this, mommy,'" she added.

The distraught mother recalled the morning when she last saw her daughter.

"On the Tuesday morning, she woke up and came inside the room saying that she was not going to get ready early this morning for school. I said, 'Yeah, it is just six o'clock. You don't have to'. I then left out for work. That was the last time I saw my daughter alive," Cynthia recalled.

Kadijah's father and her siblings are also taking her death quite hard. They regularly wake up at nights crying.

According to her mother, Kadijah always talked about wanting to become a teacher or nurse. The third-grader worked hard at school.

"That little boy, looking at him, you would never believe that he would be capable of something so horrific. He is someone known to us. Even the Sunday before, he was here asking for a pump to pump his bicycle," Cynthia related.

 

MESSAGE TO PARENTS

 

Her message to parents across Jamaica is to be cautious of who they let around their children because even the most unassuming individual can harbour the darkest of intentions.

"Some people that you trust and believe would not harm your child, those are the ones who will do it," said Cynthia.

The body of young Saunders, who was a student of the New Works Primary School, was found in an isolated section of the nearby community of Bog. When she did not return home from school at the usual time, an alarm was raised and a search was initiated to locate her. Her body was found in bushes shortly after 10:30 p.m.

An autopsy has since confirmed that she was strangled. Reports that she might have been sexually assaulted have not been confirmed. The 13-year-old boy implicated in Kadijah's death remains in police custody as further investigation continues.