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Mother of murder suspect says system let him down

Mother of murder suspect says system let him down

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The mother of a man who is a person of interest in relation to the killing of four persons, thinks that if she had received more help for her son from the relevant authorities, things might have not turned out the way they did.

Celia Baptiste of Old Sandy Bay is the mother of Jurani ‘Wanny’ Baptiste. She told SEARCHLIGHT on Tuesday that she knew her son had a problem and she was trying her best to help him, but thinks that she was not getting enough assistance from the mental health system.

Between Sunday, November 13 from around 11 p.m. to Monday, November 14 around 2 a.m., four persons were murdered here, pushing the murder rate to 31 for 2016. Police are investigating the deaths and believe they may have been committed by one person.{{more}}

Dead are Edinboro resident Nicholas Layne, 35, (attacked in the public road at Cocoa, Campden Park); Avis Israel, 75, and her son Ronald Israel, 47, (both of Old Montrose and attacked in their home); and Pamela Williams of Kingstown Park, 57, (attacked in her home).

The theory of the police is that perpetrator moved from area to area, unleashing terror and leaving carnage in his wake. Jurani Baptiste was caught in Kingstown Park at the scene of Williams’ murder. He was beaten by civilians who handed him over to the police.

Jurani, also known as “Rabbaca” in his village, is currently warded at the Male Surgical Ward of the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH) under police guard and psychiatric observation. Police say the four murders had the same modus operandi.

Commenting on the situation while sitting on a wall near to the public road in Old Sandy Bay on Tuesday, Celia said that her son, who was born in December 1997, would sometimes act strangely, but she did not know the full extent of his problem, as she was not a doctor and had no idea what he was capable of.

According to the distraught mother, when Jurani was a second form student at the St Vincent Grammar School (SVGS) in Kingstown, she was going through his schoolbag and found “something bushy” that appeared to be a controlled substance.

She said that she did not know how to recognize marijuana. Jurani was questioned about the substance, but denied knowledge of it. Celia said she spoke to a female police sergeant who was her neighbour and that officer spoke to Jurani, but he again denied knowledge of the substance.

After that, Jurani began giving problems and in one instance she was called into the SVGS on three consecutive days because of different issues with the former Sandy Bay Primary School student’s behaviour.

Jurani eventually repeated Form Two twice and was asked to leave the SVGS. His mother asked the Georgetown Secondary School (GSS) to accept the promising cricketer, who has played for the Windward Islands Under-15 and Under-17 squads on a number of occasions.

She said initially, he tried to behave himself at his new school, but after a while, he started staying away from school and she received reports that he had been seen smoking.

Jurani eventually reached Form Five at the GSS and was signed up take five CSEC/CXC subjects, but refused to do the exams.

She said that over the years, there were a number of incidents, but nothing to show that he is capable of the acts allegedly committed.

Celia said that recently, she was renting a house, when Jurani and his sister had a dispute. Jurani was locked out of the house. Celia said that she expected him to go to his grandmother’s home, something he would do at times, but this time around he didn’t leave, but instead broke out the windows of the rented house.

Celia said she and her oldest son went to make a report to the police in a rented vehicle and when they returned to the scene, Jurani had smashed the vehicle’s windows.

He was arrested and charged and according to Celia when she went to court she told the magistrate that he needed help and as a result he was sent to the Mental Health Centre for observation.

“I asked the court to get him help. He had two nervous breakdowns one in October, and June last year.”

According to Celia, he was sent to the Mental Health Centre for assessment for 14 days.

“He went back to court and whatever the doctor would have said, they sent him out and they ordered that he come back to live with me, and that was two weeks ago,” said Celia, who noted also that the court ordered counselling as part of his bail.

“It’s like he was okay for the first few days, then he start acting up, telling me I call the police and why I call the police and is I make things happen to him and I said you know you did me wrong things.”

Celia said that instead of allowing her son to take the full force of the law for the windows he broke, she replaced the windows and moved out of the house.

According to Celia, Jurani was scheduled to see a psychiatrist last week Tuesday, but the doctor rescheduled to the next day. The inclement weather conditions and the inadequacy of the public transport system made it impossible for Celia to get Jurani to Kingstown last week Wednesday.

“… We were supposed to get another appointment for this week, but we never get to do that,” said Celia.

She last saw her son last week Thursday and noted that he left Sandy Bay on Saturday saying that he was going to Georgetown to see his father.

“He looked stressed and wasn’t acting normal and he was asking for me and my mother tell him she don’t know where I am,” explained Celia, who added that she does not know what causes her son to act the way he does.

“When I heard Tuesday morning, I was like I still having a dream. I just couldn’t believe it. It was like a big shock to me.

“I really sorry on behalf of me and my extended family. We are very, very sorry, because it could have been my family.

“It happen to be my son… if the authorities would have kept him in the mental institution for maybe a few more days or weeks or even give him two months there…,” stressed Celia.

She said since the incidents, she spoke to him at the hospital, but he didn’t say much and was crying out for water and food.

“People have been blaming me on social media, but I didn’t send him. I wasn’t there. I talk to him when he came from the Mental Home and tell he don’t answer people if them trouble him.

“When he broke the windows, the magistrate asked me what wrong with him, but I didn’t know, because I’m not a psychiatrist and asked for him to see a psychiatrist to get evaluation…”

She noted that she also sought help at the Family Court for her son, where she asked a social worker to have her son go to Marion House for counselling or to be housed at the Liberty Lodge Boy’s Training Centre, but that was unsuccessful.

“She said it was not a case that he could be forced to go to Lodge and all they recommend is that I got a letter from the Family Court to take to the Grammar School to get counselling for a year for him.

“He was also supposed to get a mentor from the police and no one called and he never got it. The doctor would have known his issues and he dealt with it and called in the social worker.

“I need to get the air clear, I cannot be blamed for everything; I tried. He had a father who left when he was at seven months and he never looked back and he lives right in Georgetown.

“When I was going to pay for his subjects, I asked him for money and he said he don’t have money, not even 20 dollars and I paid for them. I did my best,” said Celia, almost in tears, while holding her seven-month-old son in her arms.

She further added, “I think when parents like me see their child need help and they go to the authorities, they should help and when we facing problems, I think they should help us.

“Some people think is not their problem, but little things end up being great things, because look now,” she concluded

A medical practitioner with knowledge of Jurani’s condition opined that he is suffering from psychosis, a severe mental disorder, in which thought and emotions are so impaired that contact is lost with external reality.(LC)

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