Mother loses fourth child in Cocorite murder

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

MURDER SCENE: Crime scene investigators examine the house and yard at which Dillon De Silva was gunned down on the Western Main Road in Cocorite on Thursday. – Angelo Marcelle

THE pain a mother feels on losing a child is indescribable. Dianne Hernandez has had to go through that four times, most recently on Thursday morning.

Hernandez’s son 41-year-old Dillon “Toe-Toe” De Silva was gunned down while leaving the home of a neighbour at Western Main Road, Cocorite near John Street.

De Silva also lived at John Street. His mother said he was “a bit slow.”

Police said around 11.30 am, a man got out of a black car and shot De Silva dead. About half an hour later, two suspects, 25 and 35, from Waterhole Cocorite, were held. They were heading east along Independence Square South in a black Toyota Yaris when Port of Spain Task Force officers stopped them.The police also seized a loaded gun.

Police suspect De Silva was killed because he was mistaken for another man who lives on the compound where De Silva was killed.

Hernandez said her pain began over two decades ago when her son Orson Ricardo Hernandez, then ten years old, was knocked down and died. Years later, her daughter Kelly Hernandez was murdered and after that another daughter, Vanessa Hernandez, died of cervical cancer.

Crime scene investigators examine the house and yard at which Dillon De Silva was gunned down on the Western Main Road in Cocorite on Thursday. – Angelo Marcelle

Hernandez explained: “My son (Orson) was just ten years old when a neighbour ask him to go in the shop to change some money for her. He was bareback and playing when this woman asked him to go and change the money. My son had one foot to put on the pavement when he get hit and pitch up in the air.”

She said Orson fell and hit his head and died. This was 25 years ago. Hernandez said the driver died sometime after. That was her first heartache.

Then came her daughter Kelly, who was killed and her body stuffed in a cesspit. In September 2010, Hernandez’s 32-year-old daughter was beaten, knocked unconscious and dumped in the cesspit, where she drowned.

Her former fiancé Ruston Lynch, then 38, of Calvary Hill, Morvant, was charged with murdering her at a house at Calvary Hill, Morvant, between September 15 and 19, 2010. That matter is awaiting trial in the High Court.

“When that happened, up to now the police never come and tell me anything. It was a stranger who went all the way to Carenage to find me and tell me. My daughter also call and tell me because she heard it on the news.”

“My daughter was put in a cesspit and then it was covered back up and tiled.”

Dillon De Silva was kiiled on the Western Main Road in Cocorite on Thursday. His mother Dianne Hernandez, left, was at the scene to identify her son. – Angelo Marcelle

The 60-year-old said she gave birth to nine children, has had the pain of burying three and will be soon burying a fourth.

Asked how she was coping with the losses, Hernandez added another loss before answering.

“Recently my house burn down flat. I don’t know if my mister light the rubbish or if someone pass with a cigarette.”They call me and told me my house burning. When I reach, the house done burn flat, mister. Everything I worked hard for and whatever the children gave me, I lost all.”

The fire, she said, happened two years ago in Diego Martin. The wooden house she built on the hill was supposed to be her solace, she said, but that was taken away from her.

Speaking about her daughter Vanessa, Hernandez described the pain of watching her slowly deteriorating.

“When they did the autopsy, you know what they tell me? The inside of my daughter was like a 92-year-old. The cancer explode. When my daughter found out she had cancer, in a month’s time she get paralysed.”

Minutes after being asked, Hernandez finally answered how she coped by saying: “I have had my share of pain. Is only God have me standing here today.”

She said the court matters and even compensation were not enough to bring back a child.

Speaking about her  son Dillon’s murder, Hernandez said he was loved by all in his community and the killing was shocking.

“This has to be a case of mistaken identity or something, nobody will want to harm Toe-Toe.”

Her son went to buy eggs for the neighbour in whose yard he was killed.

She ended the interview: “That killing touched many. No matter where you send him, and it don’t matter if you give him passage, he walking. It ain’t lash me good yet, you know. It’s like I not believing it, yuh know what ah mean?”