Danielle Rowe’s final hours
Eyewitness accounts detail tragic moments surrounding 8-y-o’s murder
With her throat slashed and blood oozing from her neck, eight-year-old Danielle Rowe seemingly made a bid to escape her killer before collapsing on to a busy roadway, according to the accounts of two eyewitnesses. Their accounts were among nearly a...
With her throat slashed and blood oozing from her neck, eight-year-old Danielle Rowe seemingly made a bid to escape her killer before collapsing on to a busy roadway, according to the accounts of two eyewitnesses.
Their accounts were among nearly a dozen statements police investigators recorded as they pieced together the hours leading up to the gruesome attack on the child that sparked national outrage.
The second-grade student at Braeton Primary and Infant School in Portmore, St Catherine, was abducted on June 8 while she waited with her younger brother to be picked up by their mother from school.
One of the eyewitnesses – a motorist – told investigators that about 4:30 p.m. that day, he saw a “young female” walking from a derelict building on premises located along Roosevelt Avenue, near the National Stadium in St Andrew, according to a police report obtained by The Sunday Gleaner.
The child was confirmed to be Danielle.
She walked “on to the roadway and into the path of a motor vehicle”, the witness recounted.
The motorist said he also saw a woman exiting the premises “behind the little girl” and walked “speedily along Roosevelt Avenue in a southerly direction”.
The woman was of brown complexion, medium build, about five feet six inches tall and was wearing a floral top and lime green knickers pants, said the witness, who told detectives he would be able to identify her if he saw her again.
The motorist told detectives that he signalled the driver of another vehicle to stop as the child wandered on to the roadway.
The second driver disclosed, in his account, that he heard a car horn tooting “non-stop” and checked his rear-view mirror to see what was happening.
He said he felt when something “faintly touched” the left side of his vehicle, causing him to stop. That’s when he saw a female student – still dressed in uniform – lying on the ground.
The witness said he went to her assistance and saw “blood coming from her neck”. He recounted placing the child in his vehicle, along with her knapsack, and took her to the nearby Bustamante Hospital for Children “while maintaining pressure to her neck”.
Danielle died at Bustamante Hospital two days later. The police have not yet determined a motive for the killing.
A post-mortem examination conducted on June 19 revealed that her death was caused by an incised wound to the neck.
DENTAL ASSISTANT CHARGED
Kayodi Satchell, a 31-year-old dental assistant, was apprehended at her Lady Musgrave Road, St Andrew, offices on August 11 and subsequently charged with Danielle’s abduction and murder.
“What this about?” she reportedly asked the cops during her arrest.
Satchell maintained her innocence during her first court appearance last Wednesday.
Noting that the case is before the court, Donnovan Collins, the attorney representing Satchell, declined to comment on the contents of the police report, saying he would not engage in a “media trial”.
However, Collins said a preliminary report compiled by the police is all that has been disclosed to him by prosecutors.
“I have not had sight of the case file as yet, but from what I have seen in the preliminary report, they will be hard-pressed to mount a viable prosecution against my client,” he insisted.
“But it is still early days.”
A clerk at the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court confirmed to The Sunday Gleaner that the case file is incomplete.
THE WOMAN WAS HER ‘DRIVER’
Danielle arrived at school around 8:20 a.m. on June 8 and told her teacher that she would be purchasing lunch that day, another witness told police.
Around 9 a.m. after the eight-year-old paid for her lunch, the witness said a woman showed up at the classroom door and asked to speak to “April”.
The woman pointed to Danielle after the teacher told her there was no “April” in her class, according to the police report.
The eight-year-old told her teacher that the woman was her “driver” when she returned to her seat after a brief conversation at the classroom door.
One of the four security guards on duty at the time told investigators that the woman was allowed on to the school campus after she showed him a lunch bag and indicated that she was carrying lunch for Danielle, the report said.
The guard reported that as the woman left the campus, she indicated that she would be back to pick up Danielle after school.
She returned about 2:05 p.m., recounted the guard, whose shift ended at 2:10 p.m. when he was replaced by a female colleague.
MISSING FROM THE GUARDROOM
The female guard told investigators that a heavy downpour of rain caused Danielle and her brother to seek shelter inside the guardroom while the woman “walked past and went through the gate and stood on the opposite side of the road facing the school”.
The guard said she went to the primary section of the school to pick up her child and when she returned to the guardroom Danielle was missing, setting off a frantic search by school administrators.
A sixth-grade student told detectives that she saw Danielle standing at the bus stop with a woman she said was her “driver”. According to her description, the woman is of brown complexion and medium build.
The student recounted that Danielle and the woman were walking behind her, but “after a while she did not see them again”.
The search ended when school administrators got a call indicating that the eight-year-old was taken to hospital with her throat slashed. News of her death on June 10 sent the country into mourning.
Danielle was laid to rest on July 23.
Satchell remains in custody and is scheduled to return to court on October 4.