Screams of anguish and enraged shouts filled the air around Building Four when news spread that Keyana Cumberbatch’s body had been found.
Police sources last night said Keyana may have been killed last Monday — the day she went missing — and had been stuffed in the barrel for the past three days.
Keyana’s mother Simone Williams, 27, had been holding prayer vigils in the apartment ever since the child disappeared on Monday after reportedly being sent to the nearby apartment home of her (Keyana’s) grandmother by a male relative. Williams never knew, that while she was praying to God to deliver her child back home safe and alive, Keyana’s body was at the bottom of the barrel.
According to police reports, at about 3 pm yesterday, Keyana’s mother detected a foul scent coming from somewhere inside her Apartment 22 West home. She soon realised the scent was the strongest in the bedroom.
In the bedroom, at the side of the barrel, Williams noticed dried blood stains. The woman hesitantly opened the cover of the barrel and observed it was stuffed with clothes.
However, with the stench now getting stronger as she opened the barrel, Williams removed some of the clothing and spotted a tied, black plastic bag.
She recoiled in horror, police said, when she touched the bag and felt what appeared to be a head. Cautiously, Williams opened the bag. What she saw inside made her scream. The bag contained the body of Keyana.
Williams, police said, ran screaming from the apartment, and made her way to the nearby Maloney Police Post where through her sobs, she told police of her find. Officers at the police post as well as officers from the Northern Division Task Force including PCs Khan, Riley, Romany and Ramsubhag, were the first to respond.
These officers secured the scene and confirmed that the body of a child was in a barrel inside the apartment. The officers notified their superiors as well as officials from the Homicide Investigations Bureau.
A male relative, who was the last person to see Keyana alive on Monday, was immediately taken into custody. Officers including ACP Wayne Dick, Snr Supt David Abraham, Snr Supt John Daniel, ASP Alexander, Sgt Waldropt and Sgt Green among others, visited the scene. District Medial Officers Dr Indal Singh and Dr Maraj were also at the scene.
As the news spread, scores of neighbours gathered around the apartment complex, expressing their disgust and outrage at what had transpired.
“How could anybody do that to a child? An innocent child? Oh my God! What is this world coming to? This is madness,” exclaimed an enraged resident.
Shortly after, Williams was seen being escorted by a party of officers into a police vehicle and she was removed from the scene. Keyana’s father Brian Cumberbatch soon arrived and on being told that his daughter was indeed dead, by police officers, he started to weep.
Speaking briefly to reporters, a dazed Cumberbatch said, “They (the police) have to find the person who do this, put that person in jail and throw away the key. That was my child. My daughter. And now she is gone. Who is going to fill that space now? We need justice in this place. The man who did this has to pay!”
ACP Dick told Newsday officers from the Homicide Investigations Bureau were observing every protocol and leaving no stone unturned in the investigations.
Flanked by Snr Supts Abraham and Daniel, ACP Dick said, “At present, the mother (Simone Williams) is assisting and so is the biological father (Brian Cumberbatch)...he too is assisting. We are in fact on top of it and right now it is a matter of patience and due diligence, and we will know soon exactly what is going on. We have interviewed several persons thus far and we are observing all the proper protocols.”
“The matter is in a delicate stage, as the discovery means that the body would have been there all along, and that yes, it was properly concealed and there was potential for several things to have taken place.
At the very least, it means that several persons would have had access to the home and the room since the child went missing, including the child’s mother, her aunt and other family members who reside in the apartment. So we are being very cautious and meticulous at this point,” ACP Dick