UWI student who died in bizarre circumstances laid to rest

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

MY CHILD: Jennifer Taylor-Sandy holds on to the coffin bearing the remains of her daughter Khadeeja during a funeral on Friday at the Cedros Anglican Church. PHOTO BY LINCOLN HOLDER –

Family and friends bade farewell to Khadeeja Taylor on Friday a week after she died in bizarre circumstances with her mother firm in her belief that demonic possession played a role in Taylor’s demise.

During a simple, intimate funeral at the Cedros Anglican Church, among the community she spent her first five years, Taylor’s life was celebrated.

Though her mother’s harrowing recollection of Taylor’s last days was fodder for much speculation, the circumstances surrounding her death were noticeably not mentioned during the service.

Fr Deane Husbands reminded mourners that death was inevitable and could come at any age and any time. “Death can come in a most unfortunate way. We hear so much of the crime and murders that are taking place. It’s not so much about how we die or when we die. It is how we have lived this life,” he said. Taylor’s friend Kerron Farria, 29, described her as a silent leader.

“She was always willing to help, even when she had no clue of what needed to be done. She would offer her assistance and laugh after at how nervous she got,” he said.

Studying public administration and law at the University of the West Indies, he said, 22-year-old Taylor was working on a project that focused on providing water for free to those in need.

Farria said he will remember Taylor as a “loving, supportive, loved one, a beautiful sister and beautiful human being.” He said every moment she shared with those in the congregation was a blessing for them.

Offering tribute, Taylor’s brother, who did not give his name, asked people not to cry for her as she is now in a better place. He also asked the congregation to keep her alive in their memories and by speaking about her.

Khadeeja Taylor

She was buried at the Fullerton Cemetery, Cedros before loved ones celebrated her life at the Cedros Community Centre. Taylor died at the Siparia Health Facility on the morning of Thursday December 21, after she and her mother Jennifer Taylor-Sandy, spent almost a week with a Siparia spiritual healer who was treating Khadeeja for a demonic possession the family believed had been inflicted by someone with ill intent.

Sitting with Newsday at the family home in Pleasantville last week, Taylor-Sandy said her daughter displayed unusual behaviour including attacking relatives, pulling her hair out, claiming to be the devil while speaking in unrecognisable languages, banging her head on the ground and cursing relatives.

An autopsy at the San Fernando General Hospital found that Taylor died from what was, in essence, uncontrolled internal bleeding from an ulcer in her stomach (hypovolaemic shock from an upper gastrointestinal haemorrhage).

The autopsy also determined she had a clinical psychiatric disorder, however, it has since been questioned how such a determination was made based on a physical examination of Taylor’s body during autopsy.