Jahan’s father devastated by his death
The biological father of six-year-old Jahan King has been told of the death of his son.
However, John King, who is soon-to-be released from a Canadian jail, still has no idea that Jahan had been the victim of reported abuse.
So far, all he has been told is that his only child died following an asthma attack.
However, in a letter, sent to his foster mother in Barbados and addressed to his now deceased son, King openly shares his feelings about the boy’s untimely death. He also expresses strong regret over the fact that he was not around to save the boy’s life.
“I’m so very sorry that I wasn’t there to save you. I blame myself because in the past, whenever you had an asthma attack I was there for you to lean on, and to whisper in your ear that daddy’s here.
“The one time I wasn’t there, you had to pass away,” he said in his emotional letter in which he remarked: “ Life can be so unfair at times”.
King, who admittedly broke down in tears upon hearing the “terrible” news of the six-year-old’s death, is still in shock over his passing.
“I still can’t believe that my little champion is gone, ‘my sport’,” the letter states.
In it, the doting dad remembered his son as a boy full of life and with much promise.
“You were truly unique, extraordinary, intelligent, humble, kindhearted, inquisitive, super handsome, my only beloved son and one of God’s most favoured earth angels,” he said, while expressing profound hurt over the fact that he will not be able to attend his funeral.
“I want you to know it isn’t by choice, it’s by force, but for sure I’ll be there in spirit and watching you go all the way to heaven.”
However, since learning of Jahan’s death, he said he could not help but ask God, “Why did he had to take you so soon?”
“ . . . I may never know and that’s one of the most hurtful parts,” King says.
“I know that in your last painful moments, you were probably wondering where is your daddy.
“But being totally honest my son, I was across the other side of the globe and incarcerated. I am ultimately sorry, my dear beloved son, please find it in your heart to forgive me one day.
“So until we meet again in the afterlife, your pain and suffering is over now my beloved son,” he continues.
The boy’s father also makes the pronouncement that “all kids your age get an automatic pass into heaven, so you can frolic, sing and play with all the other children and angels until daddy gets there.
“I will always love and remember you Jahan and you can never be replaced. ‘My sport!
The doting dad raised Jahan from a baby to age five before getting in trouble with the Canadian authorities.
He is expected back in Barbados in a few weeks time and one of his closest relatives says she is now fearful of what will be his reaction when he gets a full understanding of the circumstances surrounding the demise of his son.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY, foster mother Ena Browne, who raised King from the time he was a child, said that she was currently making preparations for counselling as soon as King gets home.
She said King, who is in his 30’s, loved his only child more than anything else in the world, and was now saying he has nothing else to live for.
Asked what she thought his possible reaction would be upon his return home, she said it was hard to tell.
“I am not going to tell [you] what I fear. I hope and pray that the Lord give him enough strength to put God in front. I will try to get some counselling for him and that is the most I can do.
“But from the time he gets back home he is going to hear and he is going to see because the pictures are all over,” said a concerned Browne, who revealed that Jahan was supposed to be present at the airport to greet his father when he returned to the island.
However, the six-year-old died at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital last Monday, after arriving there with his mother Lasonta Gill around 12:15 a.m.
Up to this weekend, the boy’s mother was still refusing to comment publicly on his death. However, other family members, including his maternal grandmother, have been publicly expressing their outrage.
Margaret Gill told Barbados TODAY last week that the child, who lived with his mother and her boyfriend at their Jackson, St Michael home, was a victim of abuse.
She also put the blame for his death squarely on the shoulders of the state-run Child Care Board (CCB), which she said was made aware of Jahan’s situation, but did nothing.
In a statement yesterday, the CCB acknowledged that it did receive reports of injuries to the child and that its officers had been actively conducting investigations, which were ongoing at the time of his death.
“The Board is presently undertaking a full review of the matter and gives the public its assurance that it will continue to vigorously execute its stated mandate to offer protection to all children in need of such services,” the CCB said in the statement released by its Chairman Ken Knight.
However, the boy’s outspoken grandmother immediately responded saying it was simply a little too late.
“I beg them over and over, do not let that child go back home with the mother and they did nothing,” she told Barbados TODAY.
Therefore, to her, the Board’s statement of condolence to the family was “nonsense”.
Also still struggling to come to grips with tragedy, foster mother Browne regrets the day that she allowed Jahan to leave her home.
She explained that both the deceased child and his mother Lasonta were living with her until she and King separated while Jahan was still a toddler.
Initially, the 26-year-old mother had left the child in the care of his father and moved back to her mother Margaret’s home.
However, Browne explained that last October, she received a call from her foster son who told her to hand over Jahan to his mother until he returned home, because he was aware that Browne had a health challenge.
“If I knew this was going to happen, he [Jahan] would have been here and still alive. But I thought because [John] raised Jahan it would have been good for [Jahan] to spend some time with [Lasonta] before he gets back,” said a grieving Browne.
The 65-year-old woman, who suffers with high blood pressure, said since handing over the child, she often pleaded with the mother to bring him over to spend weekends with her. However, she said, her pleas were never answered.
All of this time he was going through this and she didn’t want me to know, so that is why she did not send him,” Browne concluded.
“I passed by the mother to look for Jahan and her mother told me Lasonta doesn’t live there.
“She said, ‘Lasonta wait until she [Margaret] went to work and move out’.
“[Margaret] had told [Lasonta], don’t take Jahan if she is leaving because John say he don’t want Jahan living at no man.”
Browne also recalled that sometime in April, Margaret had shown her a picture of her grandson’s bruised face.
“She told me that Lasonta say a centipede bite him. Then a centipede bite the hand, then a centipede gave him the bruises. You mean the centipede keep coming back all the time?
“So what happen to the bruises here [on his side]? What happen to the fingerprints? What happen to the finger that was broken?” the foster mother asked aloud.
“I understand her boyfriend say that he fell out of a bus. What happen to the different bruises in his back? The centipede keep coming back and doing these things?”
While cautioning that “God does not sleep”, Browne told Barbados TODAY she was also very perturbed over the fact that she had learnt of her grandson’s death from sources other than his mother.
“She took this child from here and didn’t have the gall to call back here and tell me he sick, he is in hospital or nothing.
“Margaret came here Monday morning and shocked me with the news. And I say, ‘I am not going to call [Lasonta]. I want to see if she isn’t going to call and tell me anything’.”
However, the wait proved unbearable for the foster mom, who eventually picked up the phone and called Jahan’s mother.
“I say, ‘Lasonta what happen to Jahan?’ [She said] ‘well, Jahan dead’. I say, ‘well what happened?’ [She said], ‘Jahan wasn’t feeling good last night and then he get short of breath and I called the ambulance.
“Then the ambulance came and by the time them get here he was foaming at the mouth. And by the time them get to the hospital and tried to revive him, he passed’,” she recalled the boy’s mother as having said to her.
Hitting the table she was sitting at in her patio lightly with the tip of her fingers, Browne continued: “She [Lasonta] had no emotion at all. And I don’t know how a mother could take that so lightly.
“I am very disappointed at her because when she was living at me, she was a different person. I would not lie, she was a good mother to Jahan when she was living here.”
The retired Government worker indicated that she visited Lawrence T Gay Memorial Primary School on Friday to speak to authorities there who confirmed that since April, Jahan had been showing up at school with marks and bruises about his body.
“I did not know that this was going on. I had no idea,” said an inconsolable Browne.
With pain etched on her face, Browne said she could not even begin to imagine, the trauma the child had experienced.
“The broken fingers, the lash in he face that I see in the pictures. He probably was out there begging for help. I can imagine him [not being able to] sleep when the night come with that pain.
“This is more than any child could bear and I knew nothing,” she said, noting that she had not heard from the boy’s mother since last Monday.
With an autopsy due to be carried out this week, Browne, who is currently seeking to get Jahan’s body released to her for burial, declared: “Even if the autopsy say that he died from asthma, he still had problems and they are there to see.”
As for the boy’s father, she said after much effort, she was able to speak to King directly and inform him that his son had died.
Browne said her foster son could be heard on other line crying out, which was too much for her to handle. She eventually told him she had to go.
However, she shared with Barbados TODAY, a letter, which was penned by King from his prison cell, in which he expressed undying love for his son.
The letter, which was delivered at Browne’s home last week, is due to be read out at the boy’s funeral, a date for which is still to be announced.