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Victim’s relative reflects on December 2013 flood ordeal

Victim’s  relative reflects on December 2013 flood ordeal


Canadian resident Sophia Haynes will spend Christmas in St Vincent and the Grenadines, one year after her niece and younger sister were washed away in the 2013 December floods.

Haynes is the sister of 18-year-old Keslia James and aunt of two-year-old{{more}} Shalani Headley, who both were victims of last year’s Christmas Eve floods. James and Headley were making their way from their flooding home at Cane Grove with five other family members, including Headley’s mother, Colleen James, when they were washed away in a gush of water.

“I was in Florida when I get the news,” said the Canadian resident, who recently returned to St Vincent to get married.

“First, I got the news that my niece got drowned. I didn’t even know it was washed away. That’s how I get it. Then, later on in the night, I start to get exactly what went down.”

She added that she had spoken with her younger sister, Keslia, at 8 p.m. on that same night.

“Me and my sister, we were very, very close. When I get the news, I couldn’t believe it,” Haynes said.

As the first anniversary of the incident approaches, Haynes told SEARCHLIGHT that she is trying to move on.

“I could not believe. For me, I have to move on. I miss her. I love my sister. We were very close, but life, we have to move on. Everybody have to go some day. A year is going to come soon. It’s not like I’m going to be happy, but that’s life,” she said.

Headley’s mother, Colleen James, who is also Haynes’ sister, travelled to St Vincent with her four children to spend Christmas with her family in 2013.

While James has pledged not to return to St Vincent anytime soon, Haynes will spend Christmas with her new husband in this country.

“For me, I wasn’t here to see what happened. Sometimes when you there and you see exactly what happened, it’s different than when you don’t,” she said, commenting on how her sister feels.

“For me to say I not coming back, I wouldn’t use that word because for me I wasn’t there. I cannot say that. For her, she experienced everything. She was there and…going back there, reflection and everything is going to come back; you’re not going to be comfortable.”

The body of Keslia James was found on Christmas Day under a bridge, covered in debris, near Marty’s Sports Bar. Her funeral took place in January.

Shalani Headley’s body was found four days after the incident, on December 29. She was buried in Canada.(BK)