Thu | Feb 27, 2020

‘Sick to my stomach’ - Family, school in grief as 8-y-o found dead; spurned lover in jealous rage last seen with boy

Published:Saturday | January 25, 2020 | 12:17 AMAlicia Barrett/Gleaner Writer
Galen Buchanan
Tamara Lewis is a picture of dejection as she retraces the events that led to her son Galen Buchanan’s death. The boy’s body was found in the Kingston Harbour on Thursday.
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Tamara Lewis was an emotional wreck yesterday, her face a portrait of pain as she recalled the cruel turn of events that caused her eight-year-old son to be torn from her arms forever.

The mourning mother was even more devastated because she believes that her son may have been collateral damage to the betrayal of the man who was her lover and the pal of Galen Buchanan.

Galen’s body was found in the Kingston Harbour in the vicinity of the Manley Meadows housing scheme at the eastern end of the city about 3:15 p.m. on Thursday, two days after he had been taken from his home by Phillip Rose.

Lewis revealed that she had put Rose out of her home having discovered that he had had a violent history, including prison time in England. She said that she recently learnt that he had been jailed for burning down a house in a bid to kill his spouse and children.

However, she never anticipated that their eight-month relationship would have disintegrated to the point where he would have taken revenge by luring her child under the guise of buying ice cream.

“I never expect this … . They were really close. Anytime Phil is here, the two a dem sit down on him father car down the lane and the two a dem reason like a big man,” said Lewis of Galen’s relationship with Rose.

“Mi baby is like a person weh sit dung and reason like a big person,” she continued.

Jealous rage

Lewis said that her attempt to cut ties with Rose, who goes by several aliases, triggered a jealous rage that could have cost her her life even after changing the locks to her home.

“I put him out the Monday because he was trying to strangle me the morning, and the way I got away was by biting him,” she said.

She came home that evening to a house that bore the signs of bloodlust and anger.

“When I reach home and go in my room, I try turn on the fan, it is not working. The TV stab, and the fridge stab up. I called the (police) officers and when dem come and lift up the clothes dem, the knife and scissors were on the bed.

“I think that if they did not see him, he would have waited for me to kill me. If mi did come in, mi would be a dead person,” she said.

Lewis said that her estranged lover called her Friday morning offering to offset funeral expenses for her eight-year-old son who was last seen in his care. She disclosed that he protested his innocence in the boy’s death, but she doesn’t believe him.

Meanwhile, Galen’s teacher, Samanthea Kinghorn, wept openly before gaining the strength to speak with the news team. She described him as a loving student who took charge in managing her classroom.

“He is like the man of the class. No one can come in the class and he doesn’t report it to me. He is just wise beyond his years, so when I heard I couldn’t sleep. I am really heartbroken,” Kinghorn told The Gleaner.

“They (the children of the class) have been crying from Wednesday and I have been trying to console them, but they are not taking it well. I am just sick to my stomach. I don’t know why somebody could do this to a child,” she said.

Dereck Buchanan, Galen’s father, was overcome with grief at the very mention of his son’s name. He told The Gleaner that he had always been involved in his son’s life and struggled to make sense of the tragedy.

“Mi a try my best not to remember certain things. I a try keep a happy face and hold out, but him a sample still. Mi caa dweet,” he lamented.

“From before he was two, he has been living here. A five children mi have, and when mi other son hear last night, him drop dung. He was here with me from birth, so before him start school, a mi.”

alicia.barrett@gleanerjm.com