Adrian Frater, News Editor
THE FAMILY of Cynthia Nesbeth is still in shock as it tries to come to grips with her brutal murder at the hands of her mentally challenged grandson. The 58-year-old woman was bludgeoned to death last week Tuesday at her home in Orange Bay, Hanover, by her 20-year-old grandson, who had been acting strangely leading up to her death.
While it is unclear as to exactly what drove the grandson to attack her, based on information from family members, his behaviour had become erratic in recent days and he had even threatened another relative with a knife.
"He was not acting his usual self, but we never expected him to do such a terrible thing," a relative, who asked not to be identified, told The Gleaner.
While the family cowers in shock, shame and disbelief, well-known western Jamaica-based psychologist, Dr Beverley Scott, said there are many telltale signs a family should look out for when living with a mentally challenged relative.
Pay keen attention
"Any extreme changes in behaviour should be examined ... . These individuals tend to become violent when they are suffering from depression," said Scott. "You need to watch if they are eating well, sleeping well, and if they are paying keen attention to their personal hygiene."
Scott said families should not be fooled into believing that a mentally challenged person is okay, because the person claims to be okay.
"Mentally challenged persons tend to believe that nothing is wrong with them," said Scott. "The families of these persons need to be vigilant in looking out for the signs suggesting that all is not well."
"If they are creating problems, the help of the police should be sought in getting them to medical help," continued Scott.
"In the cases where they refuse to take medication prescribed to them, they would be better off in a mental institution, where there are trained professionals to deal with them."
Neighbours reportedly heard cries for help coming from Nesbeth's home last Tuesday and, on investigation, the grandson was seen using a piece of building block to smash her head. By the time they managed to intervene, she was already dead.
As the young man languishes in a jail cell awaiting his day in court, the distraught family will now be required to recompose themselves to plan a funeral none of them were expecting.