Not long before her life was brutally snatched away, 16-year old Rachael Ramkissoon had started attending the Brazil Village Seventh-Day Adventist Church with a relative.
“That’s the only place she went,” her distraught aunt, Dionne Nicholas, told the T&T Guardian yesterday.
“Apart from her family, she never associated much. She was always on the computer, studying, or on the bed with her head phones on. She was generally a very quiet person.”
Nicholas spoke on behalf of Ramkissoon’s 38-year old mother, Catherine, her sister, who she said was too upset to talk to anyone, even her.
Catherine is a cleaner with EIL Industries, relatives of Ramkissoon on her father’s side. “Everything for Catherine was her daughter. She was her life,” Nicholas said.
Concerning speculation as to how Ramkissoon died, she said, “People are speculating and things are coming in but we don’t want to say anything until we get the autopsy report today.”
She said funeral arrangements have been put on hold until the family gets the autopsy report. But Nicholas said they would appreciate help from the Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo Regional Corporation (CTTRC) to fill the potholes in Talparo Trace caused by big trucks going in and out of a quarry further up the road.
CTTRC councillor for the area, Ryan Rampersad, said the corporation would be sending a crew to assist the family before the funeral.
Ramkissoon was found, face up, in the forested Balata Trace in Arena last Friday evening, a ten-minute drive from her home.
She was in the uniform of the North Eastern College in Sangre Grande she attended and had injuries to her face, arms and legs. There were reports her teeth were broken and she may have been sexually assaulted and strangled.
A Form Five student, she missed her bus Friday morning and it is believed she may have arranged for a taxi to take her to school.
If she had to travel, she would have to walk out of Talparo Trace, where she lived with her mother in a wooden house, and wait for a taxi outside the Faith Assembly Church on the main road. From there, the taxi would take her to Parleemend Bar in Brazil Village where another taxi would take her to Sangre Grande.
Nicholas said she was confident her niece would not go into a car with a stranger based on how she was taught.
“She and the other school children in the area also had a rule; only take the white maxi (school bus), Nicholas said.
“We taught Rachel and her cousin, Elisa, also 16 and who attended North Eastern with her, everything about life. We showed them raw and told them the consequences.
“Rachel was a wise and brave girl and she also knew how to fight. I don’t believe she was kidnapped. She went to meet a taxi she knew.”
Nicholas said the family was poor but they were very close knit and Ramkissoon’s death has crushed the family, as well as the entire village.
“Everybody in Brazil Village knew Rachel and Elisa from small and spoilt them. “I don’t know if this family will ever be the same again. Rachael was the one who was going to make everybody proud.”
Nicholas said fear has enveloped Brazil Village since Rachael’s killing. “Everybody scared. Here was a place where you would walk safely 12 o clock in the night. It was so peaceful.”
Councillor Rampersad said “life has changed overnight for residents” in the area. He said apart from a little praedial larceny, crime was not a major problem in the area and a shocking one would occur rarely.
Nicholas said it was more than 25 years ago that 11-year old Oma Nanan, a Form One student at the Curepe Secondary school went missing.
Nanan, a Talparo resident, got dressed for school and went to wait for a taxi by the roadside. She has never been seen since.
Nicholas pleaded, “If this one (Rachel’s murder) could make people open their eyes and see the country is in a mess...
“People are forgetting about God. They don’t even want to give Him a try.”
In a statement late yesterday the Ministry of Education said line monister Anthony Garcia will vist the North Eastern College at 10 am where he will make a statement on Ramkissoon’s death.
SOURCE: www.guardian.co.tt (Yvonne Baboolal)