Point Fortin MP after Kimani’s autopsy: Watch your children

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Pain and grief linger among the community of Point Fortin since two-year-old Kimani Francis’ death.

But MP for the area Kennedy Richards is hoping parents and guardians can learn from the incident by taking more care when supervising young children.

Kimani walked out of his family’s home at Tenth Street Extension, Techier Village, Point Fortin at around 10 am on Monday.

The official police report said a neighbour reported seeing Kimani walking in a deserted area and called the police.

Relatives only realised Kimani was missing when police visited his home.

Villagers together with police, fire service, the defence force and hunters, began to search for the child in several surrounding areas.

Kimani’s body was found on Tuesday in the Guapo River two miles away.

An autopsy at the Forensic Science Centre, St James, on Friday concluded he died by drowning.

The autopsy, done by forensic pathologist Dr Pramanik with assistance from forensic pathologist assistant Sadiki De Leon, found water in the child’s chest cavity as well as soil and mud from the river in his stomach.

Sources said Kimani’s body showed no marks of violence to suggest foul play.

His grandmother visited the centre on Friday to receive the results but did not speak with reporters. She and other relatives drove to the loading bay at the back of the centre to avoid the media.

Contacted for comment, Richards said the autopsy results might bring some closure to the family and the community, but it was still a tragic incident.

He stressed while he did not want to cast blame on anyone, it was extremely important for parents to properly supervise small children.

He said that as a parent Kimani’s death was difficult to hear and hoped other parents would take the necessary precautions to protect their children from danger.

“It really does take a community to raise a child.

“While the mom may not have heard him slip out, we need the additional eyes and ears in a community to act as a barrier of safety for children that age.

“I’m not going to play the blame game and say who is to blame and who is not to blame. The chips will fall where they may with the police investigation after the autopsy.

“As a father of young children, I just want to caution parents: we live in a time when sometimes both parents work, and grandparents work as well, and the children are sometimes supervised by elder siblings, who may not always be as focused as the parent.

“Also, even parents may be multi-tasking and your focus may be shifted. But that unguarded moment can make a big difference. This can happen to anybody.”

Richards also noted several rumours circulated during the search for Kimani and after his body was found. He said he hoped the post-mortem report could dispel some the speculation.

Referring to a video posted to his official Facebook page on Thursday, in which he condemned attacks on a neighbour who claimed to have sees Kimani shortly after his walked out of his home, Richards said he understood how emotionally charged the situation was, but it was important for cooler heads to prevail.

“It (the autopsy report) gives the entire community closure, but some people may still not want to believe it took place that way.

“I don’t know how he ended up in the river, that’s what everyone seems to want to know now.

“Regardless of how he ended up in there it showed that nobody harmed him.

“This is no consolation to anybody, but it brings closure to the community and closure to the speculation.”

He added that psycho-social support and counselling were available to relatives and villagers who were involved in the search for Kimani.

Point Fortin Mayor Saleena Thomas said she preferred to withold any comments until she had spoken with Kimani’s family on the autopsy results.

Despite earlier speculation that Kimani’s autopsy would be done on Saturday or postponed to next week, sources said it was given “top priority” and was the first one done for the day on Friday.

Senior police said the enquiry into Kimani’s death was continuing.

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