A man who was named by the police as a ‘person of interest’ in the death of a three-year-old child in St Ann turned himself in yesterday and was taken into custody for questioning. The mother and stepfather of the three-year-old girl were yesterday detained by the police.
The couple was taken into custody following allegations that the child, Nevalesia Campbell, and her twin brother were left at home alone when the little girl was snatched from her bed between late Saturday night and early Sunday morning.
Her body was found with chop wounds later in the day. Police said residents alleged that the children’s mother was seen at a party on the same night that the child was believed to have gone missing. According to the police, the mother and her lover could be charged with breaches of the Child Care Protection Act.
Police said the woman earlier reported that Nevalesia and her brother were put to bed about 10:30 Saturday night and that about 11:00 pm she woke up and was given water. The woman also told the police that she fell asleep while watching television and when she woke up about 1:30 Sunday morning she realised that the little girl was missing.
A missing person report was made to the police about 2:00 am. Her body was found in a precipice about 9:30 Sunday morning. Yesterday, Prime Minister Andrew Holness said that as he mourned with the nation on the slaying of the little girl, he would be keeping a close watch on the investigation into her murder.
The prime minister, according to a Jamaica House release, said he has had conversations with Police Commissioner Dr Karl Williams, who assured him that all was being done to bring the killer or killers of the child to justice:
“The Government is clear and adamant that we will do whatever we can to deal with these gruesome and indecent acts, especially against our women and children. This is a sincere commitment by myself and our Cabinet. I understand that good progress is being made in the investigation and I believe this is one case where the perpetrator or perpetrators will not get away,” a Jamaica House release quoted Holness.
In the meantime, the prime minister said that the minister in charge of gender affairs, Olivia Grange, will today make a statement during her sectoral presentation on issues related to gender-based violence.
“Minister Grange will be updating the nation on the delayed Joint Select Committee to recommend amendments to the Offences Against the Person Act, the Sexual Offences Act, the Domestic Violence Act and The Child Care and Protection Act. This process was delayed and there has been no meeting since December 2014. We plan to restart that process and finally get these reforms in place.”
The prime minister added that the suggestion by his team then was to define, redefine or augment offences and punishments to be applied to the murder of pregnant women and other forms of violence against women and children. “We cannot continue on a path where the most vulnerable are targets. We must enhance penalties to act as deterrents or as appropriate punishment.”
In encouraging Jamaicans to be parents to all children, the prime minister urged all citizens to protect children as if they were their own. He stated that the community has an important role to play in alerting the authorities to suspicious activities related to children.