TRINIDAD – Teen dies suddenly
Neighbours claim beating responsible for death
PORT OF SPAIN –– The sudden death of a 14-year-old girl yesterday left an entire village in Wallerfield divided.
While police and relatives both concluded that Natesha James, of Jacob Hill, died early yesterday morning from complications arising from epilepsy, residents alleged a more sinister cause may have led to her eventual death.
According to police reports, James was last seen alive at her home on Monday night.
Her mother, Natalie Jervais, told police when she arrived home after attending a prayer group meeting, she saw her daughter fighting with her one-year-old sister.
She claimed she separated the feuding siblings and scolded them. However, shortly after they resumed and the mother reportedly again intervened. However, she said this time she decided to punish the teenager with a guava whip beating before sending her to bed.
But Jervais said minutes after returning to her bedroom she heard strange noises coming from the kitchen and went to check and found the teen lying unconscious on the floor. James was taken to the Arima Health Facility where she was pronounced dead on arrival.
The teenager’s parents were later detained by police for questioning but later released after an autopsy performed at the Forensic Science Centre, St James, revealed she had choked on her own vomit while in the midst of an uncontrollable epileptic fit.
However, even after hearing the results of the post mortem, which also showed James had no marks of violence on her body, several of the family’s neighbours alleged the teen was constantly beaten.
“They always beating them children all hours of the night. I hear the child crying late last night but I only realise what went on when I see the police and the ambulance,” a neighbour who asked to remain unidentified said when interviewed by the T&T Guardian last night.
Another neighbour corroborated the claim as she alleged that both children received almost nightly beatings.
Their claims were denied by relatives of the family who were forced to form a human barricade in front of their front gate to prevent a mob of neighbours, mostly female, from storming into the property late yesterday while the T&T Guardian was at the house.
The boisterous group was eventually forced to disperse to their homes after police were summoned back to the scene to quell the disturbance around 8 pm last night.
“If the child was being abused as they say, why they didn’t do something and call the police long time,” a sobbing relative said as she claimed that the allegations were a ploy by neighbours to force the family out the community.
“They just trying to cause trouble within the community. Everybody know my uncle and aunty is good people. Nobody crying more than my aunty now,” one of James’ cousins said.
Detectives of the Region Two Homicide Bureau are continuing investigations.