Mon | Nov 30, 2020

Double tragedy - Father killed and daughter missing after landslide covers house

Published:Saturday | October 24, 2020 | 12:19 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
The residents of Shooters Hill in St Andrew working feverishly to dig through debris for a missing 15-year-old student of The Queen’s School whose father’s body was found after a landslide yesterday fell on the house they were in.
The residents of Shooters Hill in St Andrew working feverishly to dig through debris for a missing 15-year-old student of The Queen’s School whose father’s body was found after a landslide yesterday fell on the house they were in.
An overhead shot of the area in Shooters Hill, eastern St Andrew, where a landslide covered a house occupied by a man and his daughter. The residents dug into the debris and retrieved the body of Romeo Leechman but his daughter, Saneeka’s body could not
An overhead shot of the area in Shooters Hill, eastern St Andrew, where a landslide covered a house occupied by a man and his daughter. The residents dug into the debris and retrieved the body of Romeo Leechman but his daughter, Saneeka’s body could not be found up to the time of publication.
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Fifteen-year-old Saneeka Leechman, a student of The Queen’s School in Kingston, was making plans to surprise her father, 42-year-old Romeo Leechman, on his upcoming birthday, but this will never come to pass as a land slippage caused by heavy rains destroyed their frail house yesterday in Shooters Hill St Andrew, crushing and killing her father. The teenager is feared dead.

Romeo’s body was retrieved from the rubble yesterday, but up to press time, Saneeka’s body was not located despite a desperate search by residents and members of the Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB) for hours.

Joshua Davis, acting senior deputy superintendent in charge of operations for the JFB in Kingston, told The Gleaner that they received a call about the incident and took steps to respond.

The Gleaner understands that the incident occurred around 8 a.m.

“When we got here, we saw that an entire house was down, totally demolished. There was a retaining wall and the wall went and mud came down and smashed the house. Everything came from up top and came all the way down here,” he said.

He explained that a search for the body of Saneeka will continue in earnest today.

“We are still going to carry out the digging process to see if we can locate the body. A lot of residents are assisting us in doing that,” he said.

LOVED BY COMMUNITY

A resident of Shooters Hill, who gave his name as Brother Paul, shared how the young woman came to him recently requesting his help to surprise her father for his birthday. Brother Paul expressed regret at the tragic incident.

“She asked me to get a vehicle for her because of her father’s birthday and she wanted to surprise him. The community loved them. We have seen them grow over the years and we admire them. We think he was a strong father. Both are my personal friends.

“We searched and found our friend ‘Romeo’, but we believe the daughter is beneath the rubble, behind somebody else’s house. The daughter was very bright. She was very nice,” Paul said.

The incident has saddened the People’s National Party’s Joan Gordon Webley, who shared that she knew Saneeka well, as she helped out the third form students with funds for books and lunch for school.

She remembered the teenager as a nice and promising young woman.

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com