East Port of Spain boy, 6, found unresponsive in bathroom –HOW DID ‘ZACKY’ DIE?

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

The apartment in Building 25, East Dry River, where Zachariah Charles was found dead on Tuesday night. Photo by Shane Superville

THE police remain puzzled as to the circumstances surrounding the death of a six-year-old boy who was found unresponsive in a bathroom of an East Port of Spain apartment home on Tuesday night.

In fact, Homicide Bureau of Investigations officers stuck pamphlets under the doors of apartments near to the one in which Zachariah Charles was found, asking if anyone knew anything regarding his death, to call the police.

Police said Zachariah was taking a bath at the apartment in Building 25, Old St Joseph Road, East Dry River, Port of Spain, at around 7 pm, when a male relative in the apartment noticed him lying on the floor.

He alerted a female relative who took the child to the Port of Spain General Hospital where he was declared dead at around 8.37 pm.

Doctors and nurses later told police that the child’s body bore several visible bruises.

HELP US: A pamphlet left under doors of several apartments in a housing complex in East Port of Spain, calling for help for information on the death of a six-year-old boy who lived in one of the apartments on Tuesday. Photo by Shane Superville

Police said the man and woman were detained and up to press time on Wednesday afternoon, were still in custody. Police are hoping an autopsy which is expected to be done next week, could shed light on the cause of death.

When Newsday visited Building 25 on Wednesday, a resident said that Zachariah and his female relative had only recently moved into the apartment to live with the man. The resident said the boy hardly ever ventured out of the apartment.

She said while she does not know how Zachariah died, she was grieving since she is a mother and wouldn’t want to bear that kind of pain and loss.

“I’m a mother and a grandmother so I can only imagine the pain the family must be going through. This entire situation is terrible. But, no, he was one who didn’t really venture outside so we didn’t see him out at all.

The resident said that Zachariah and his female relative moved into the apartment after the man’s mother died.

Another resident who said that she too is a mother and grandmother, was hoping police could find out how the child died.

“It’s very unsettling when you hear things like this, it makes your stomach turn, especially for me who living in the same building where this happened.

“I don’t know what happened but all I can say is I hope the police get to the bottom of this because too many children are dying in this country of late.”

One of the TTPS leaflets stuck under a door in the apartment complex. Photo by Shane Superville

Newsday saw several pamphlets placed under the front door of several apartments in the building.

The pamphlet said: “Homicide Bureau of Investigations is seeking information relative to the circumstances surrounding the death of Zachariah Charles.

“Please call 800-TIPS or 555. All calls are confidential. Enough is enough, assist your community by giving information. By helping others, you help yourself. Do something now. We want to help you.”

When Newsday visited the Forensic Science Centre in St James, officers pointed us to a man whom they said was a relative of Zachariah, but when approached for in interview, the man declined.

Cognizant of a recent spate of deaths involving children, the Children’s Authority on April 5, issued a media release calling on parents and guardians to pay close attention to their children especially around large bodies of water.

On April 9, in response to a specific case involving the death of a teenager, the authority issued another media release calling for an end to corporal punishment saying this was not an effective technique to discipline children.

Zachariah’s death is the fifth incident reported by the media involving the passing of minors.

On February 6, five-year-old Krystal Laloon died when a gate fell on her at the home of relatives in Sangre Chiquito home. An autopsy revealed she suffered several broken bones and other internal injuries from the blow by the gate.

On March 29, Asaiah Josiah, seven, drowned in a pool at the home of relatives in Robert Village, Tableland.

On April 4, Maria Khan, three, drowned in a small, inflatable swimming pool at the family’s Gasparillo home.

On April 5, Alliyah Alexander, 15, died from blunt force injuries. Her father, Defence Force corporal David Alexander has since been charged with manslaughter.