Tecia’s head was stuffed inside a dirt hole, with her swollen body left protruding under a neighbour’s house, just metres away from her home. Relatives are convinced the girl was raped.
“Well all I hear is that they find my daughter dead with she underpants off and like they interfere with she...how they could get pleasure from a ten-year-old?” Tecia’s father, Lynton James, said yesterday.
James also hinted that his daughter’s killers would pay for their wicked deed.
“All I want to say now is that I don’t really care about my life...it go have people crying just like me and you see how all my family and friends crying, it go have people crying,” James said.
Police said Tecia was found fully clothed, and could only speculate that she may have been strangled. Investigators said Tecia may have been killed on the same day she disappeared, and will have to wait on an autopsy today to determine if she was raped. They also believe her murder may be connected to a crime committed by a relative.
Tecia’s disappearance from her home at Essex Road, off Cook Street, John John last Saturday, seemingly brought together the Laventille community, where residents carried out searches.
However, the discovery of her body may have triggered a feud between angry residents of north and south La Plaisance Terrace, at Block Eight, a known gangland where she was found under a house. Residents turned on each other and warning gunshots were fired into the air, which were heard from as far as Riverside Plaza, Port-of-Spain.
While investigators were busy at the crime scene, riot police were called in as the area was almost thrown into chaos. Some residents made threats to finish what had started at a later date when the police were not around.
“You see when them (police) gone it go have a show-time down here,” an unidentified man, who was pulled away by police, shouted to a man at Block Eight.
Inter-Agency Task Force officers warned residents to desist from firing gunshots when they arrived just as the confrontations had begun. With the Special Anti-Crime Unit of TT (SAUTT) helicopter hovering overhead, people were running helter-skelter fleeing the scene as if they were in a war zone.
Police later arrested four suspects who were questioned up to late yesterday about the girl’s killing. It was between 8.10 and 8.30 am yesterday, that resident Ann Marie George discovered Tecia’s body covered under a piece of wood beneath her home. George had gone to check the source of a foul smell which emanated from close by.
Shortly after Tecia’s body was found, SAUTT handed out a flier to residents which read: “Early this morning on Wednesday 17th June 2009, a body was found at 9 Plaisance Terrace, Laventille. Trinidad and Tobago Police Service and the Special Anti Crime Unit of Trinidad and Tobago are appealing for any persons with information regarding the circumstances surrounding the death to call: 623-5202 or 800-8477. Your call will be treated in confidence.”
Police had searched this area after Tecia’s disappearance just days before, but the killers carefully placed her body in a 45-degree crevice, then covered her with a slat from a wooden shelf, away from the sight of the officers.
Tecia, a standard-four student of St Rose’s Girls’ RC School, disappeared last Saturday, after leaving her home to buy a bread for her mother at a parlour just metres away. Prayers were said earlier this week at her school and at the Holy Rosary RC Church in Port-of-Spain for her safe return.
Her body, described as being “badly decomposed”, swollen and covered in maggots was viewed by forensic pathologist Dr Valery Alexandrov. Villagers believe that it was the prayers of Bishop Marlon Lee which pointed the way to Tecia’s body. Lee led a “walk for God” in John John on Tuesday night, praying to give answers to Tecia’s relatives.
“God does reveal all things,” Lee said in an interview yesterday. “At the march, we sang and we prayed and we asked God that whatever the circumstances is let us know and let’s face it,” he added.
“It’s plenty better to see her dead or alive than to not see her again, so God has revealed that she is here this morning.” Also at the scene yesterday, Tecia’s elder sister Tia said she was close to her sister and would miss her dearly.
“I feeling sad. I want my sister,” Tia cried. “I want them to catch the person who kill her.”
Undertakers took over five hours to remove the girl’s body after careful examination of the scene by investigators. At the end, Guard and Emergency Branch officers were called in to form barriers to allow undertakers to place the body in their vehicle.
Tecia’s aunt Tracy James said she believes the killer lived close by.
“Nobody not coming up here, them fellas have here lock down,” she said. “No strange man not coming up here. So they wicked. They wicked. Them is wicked people...they go pay,” she added.
“What kind of vibes they could get for sexing a ten-year-old girl?” James asked.
Beverly Nurse-Taitt, wife of slain gang leader Mark Guerra, told reporters that someone would have to be held responsible for the killing.
“Somebody have to be held responsible for this,” she said. “Somebody had to hear something, somebody had to see something. We want answers. We not stopping till we get answers.”
Homicide Bureau officers are investigating.