Forty-two-year-old, Valesha Vidal’s worst nightmare came to life early Saturday morning, when news broke that the life of her only daughter, 14-year-old Tianna Clarke, an eighth grade student of St. James High, was gruesomely snuffed out.
Miss Vidal, of Cunningham Drive, Granville in St. James, fainted on hearing the news and was rushed to the Cornwall Regional Hospital, for treatment.
“I am stressed out. I am at a loss; my one daughter gone. I have not eaten since Saturday; I have not slept since Saturday. It would be better if him rape her and leave her and run away. I could deal with that, but this?! Oh God man, mi caan manage this,”she said as she burst into tears while speaking to the Western Mirror.
The Granville Police report that about 8:30 a.m., Saturday, a passerby saw the body and summoned them. On their arrival, Tianna’s body was seen on the ground with wounds to the face. The scene was processed and the body removed to the morgue. A man known only as ‘Zoo Bug’ of Brown Lane, Granville, is now in police custody in connection with the crime.
Miss Vidal related that on Friday at about 8 p.m., she was in her room when Tianna came and said she wanted ten dollars to add to the money she had to buy a cup soup. “I was lying on the bed and I fell asleep. It was the coughing of one of her brothers that woke me up and I came to the room and asked ‘where is Tianna?’ and they said she was not there. I started cursing them and said ‘your sister don’t come in and it so late and you don’t tell me?’”.
Miss Vidal said because it was after eleven o’clock in the night, she was afraid to go out on the road, so she resorted to calling Tianna’s paternal grandmother to make queries about her whereabouts. She then called her father but got no response. She also wondered whether Tianna had gone to stay with a friend who visited her earlier on Friday.
“I could not sleep so I got up about 5:30 Saturday morning, and her father came to see me about 6 o’clock. He asked me for her and I told him she was not here and said I thought she was with him.”
She walked through the community making queries for her daughter but to no avail; no one could tell where she was. She subsequently received a call from the police station telling her to come there because Tianna’s father had reported her missing.
Miss Vidal went to the station but was sent home to get a picture of her daughter. On her way home, her cousin called her to tell her that the police had found the body of a little girl beside an unfinished building and they thought it could be Tianna.
When Ms. Vidal arrived on the scene, the police were there already and the body was already placed in a bag and they refused to let her see it. There was blood on the ground and on the wall of the unfinished house.
“My cousin told me that she was wearing a black and white sweat suit top, but she was naked from her waist down, and she had a hit in the head and looked like a torn scandal bag was on her head. She was asthmatic, so I don’t know if it’s the head lick or asthma attack that knocked her out. She had left the house in the black and white sweat suit top.”
NO MONEY TO BURY HER
“I don’t know how I am going to manage. I don’t have the first cent to bury my daughter. I was working but since January, I have not worked. I have three boys: one 20, one 17 and another one who is 5. They are not taking it well. The bigger ones have left the area; they cannot take it.”
Meanwhile, a sombre mood still prevailed at the St. James High School, where Vice Principal Yvonne Panther, fighting back tears, related that Tianna was a focused child, and diligent with her school work, a claim her mother echoed.
“Tianna was the type of student who, if a teacher did not turn up for class, she would come to the office and ask me about what work should be done for that session. She was a very promising student who was active in school life and well-loved,” Vice Principal Panther disclosed.
“We had to console the form teacher because to see that empty seat was traumatic for her her. The classmates are not taking it well at all. So, we have to give them a little time to come to grips with this tragedy, even though the trauma team from the Ministry of Education met with them yesterday and counselled and consoled them.”
Mrs. Panther said the justice system is too lax on those persons who rape and kill, and must be amended to include stiffer penalties, suggesting that the cat-o-nine tails was one used and could be reintroduced.