JAMAICA – Cotton tree kills father, daughter

grief, shock and even superstition when the Jamaica Observer visited Buckfield in Ocho Rios, where a cotton tree fell on a house, killing a father and his daughter.

Shawn “Randy” Shaw and his 13-year-old daughter, Sherina “Sandy” Shaw died, while his 11-year-old son Shawn Shaw Jr, also called “Randy”, was taken to hospital for treatment where he was admitted in stable condition. His injuries were not considered life threatening.

Police reported that about 2:00 yesterday morning Shaw and his children were asleep at home when the tree fell on the house. The board structure, where the single parent and his children lived for about six years, was destroyed by the huge cotton tree.

“The rain was falling very, very hard and I hear a heavy sound. I thought it was a light post drop down,” Vera Stewart, a neighbour, said.

Stewart said she rushed from her house when she heard another neighbour crying.

“When mi rush in a the house, only the little boy mi see,” she said. She added that it was difficult to remove the child as she and another female neighbour needed the assistance of others.

“I not even know when they take him out,” Stewart said.

“I never see the father. Only one of the daughter’s hands alone I could see. Everything was covered,” she said.

Shaw, who worked as a newspaper vendor for years before becoming a juice vendor, was remembered as a very caring father to his children

“Him try with the two a them without a mother,” one man said.

“It sad, sad, sad. Mi feel it man,” the man continued.

“Him get a hot death,” another man said.

Several people gathered at the scene expressed shock on how the two met their untimely death.

“Mi never know him would dead like this,” one man said, as he shook his head.

One woman, while expressing sadness, shared superstitious beliefs about the cotton tree.

“Whenever cotton tree fall it always bring death with it,” she said.

In the meantime, Michelle, a neighbour, was counting her blessings yesterday.

“It is a tragedy, but I am blessed that it is not my house,” she said.

The tree that fell was closer to Michelle’s home than it was to Shaw’s; however, only the bathroom of Michelle’s home was damaged.

“I can build another one,” she said.

Michelle said she was blessed because the lives of her two young children, ages six and seven, were spared. She was especially happy that her daughter’s life was spared so she could celebrate her eighth birthday today.

“Her life is her birthday present,” Michelle said.

Michelle said she was inside her home when she heard a loud explosion that caused the ground to shake.

“I knew it was the cotton tree,” she said.

Residents believe the tree fell because the root was burnt out; however, they could not say who burnt the root. 

Source: (Jamaica Observer)

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