Tecia left her home at Essex Road, off Cook Street, Laventille last Saturday on an errand to a nearby parlour. She never returned home and her body was found at Plaisance Terrace, near Block Eight on Wednesday.
Four men were detained on Wednesday, but police yesterday said a fifth was now in custody with these suspects. The home of one of the suspects was destroyed by fire yesterday.
At the Forensic Science Centre, St James, yesterday Tecia’s grandmother Patricia James showed reporters a section of the autopsy report which indicated the little girl was killed by “manual srtangulation.”
She said the report stated Tecia was killed last Saturday, June 13. The autopsy also allayed the family’s fears that Tecia had been raped as the pathologist found no evidence of sexual assault. On Wednesday, pathologist Dr Valery Alexandrov was called in by police when Tecia’s body was found stuck in a dirt hole under a house at Plaisance Terrace.
Tecia’s mother Diane Henry had to be held up by her sisters Helen Henry and Christine “Twiggy” Levia and family friends outside the Forensic Science Centre. Henry could barely speak, and only muttered, “God give me strength.”
A vociferous Levia, who spoke on behalf of her sister, scolded the media for reports that Tecia’s murder may have been linked to a crime committed by a relative.
“There are decent people living in East Dry River and Laventille. Yes, there are some bad elements but many of us single mothers work hard for everything we have. Not everything is drug-related here. It is unfair for the media to do us that just because we from the East Dry River area.”
Levia also criticised radio commentators for remarks that Tecia’s death could have been prevented by proper parenting. “We are single mothers who provide for our children in the best way we can. Nothing could prepare you for something like this, no mother deserves this,” said a tearful Levia. Helen Henry added that what happened to her niece and her family could happen to anyone.
“It could reach your doorstep too, just like it reached ours, so stop pointing fingers at us,” she said.
The sisters also said women were often left to raise children on their own as the fathers often abandoned them or were the victims of murders. They said this often made daily life a struggle for women of the area and to lose a child in such a manner was unbearable. Levia said she believed envy was the only motive for the death of her niece. News of Tecia’s death spread like wildfire through Laventille with many residents promising acts of revenge. Women from the area blocked the Eastern Main Road and Beetham Highway, last Sunday, a day after Tecia went missing, calling for the police to step up their search for her. Candlelight vigils were also held by the residents while St Rose’s Girls’ RC Primary School, where Tecia was a student, held a Mass for her safe return. There was a near riot in Laventille when Tecia was found dead on Wednesday.
Ministry of Social Development public relations specialist Shaeyna Weston yesterday said officials from the National Family Services are expected to visit Tecia’s family to assess their counselling and other needs, including assistance with funeral expenses. Minister of Social Development Amery Browne visited the Henry family on Wednesday and said Government was looking at relocating them to a new home on their request.
Besson Street Police along with Homicide and CID officers are continuing investigations.