Rest In Peace Octavia
By CECILY ASSON Saturday, October 13 2012
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A MOTHER'S GRIEF: Sharon Charles weeps as she is consoled by daughter Annilla at the funeral service yesterday for Sharon's other daughter Octavia Arl...
OVER a year after she was raped, murdered and her body burnt beyond recognition, Holy Name Convent, Point Fortin student Octavia Arlene Charles’ earthly remains were finally laid to rest yesterday following an emotional funeral service at the Tabernacle of Prayer Church in Point Fortin.
On May 31, 2011, the remains of the Form Five student of Gun Hill, Point Fortin, was discovered among a pile of burnt tyres in the forests off Bye Pass Road, Oropouche. She was last seen alive on May 22, 2011 by her cousin Sabrina Richardson, when she (Charles) left their home to attend service at the Tabernacle of Prayer Church.
At the time of her disappearance Charles was writing her CSEC examinations. Described as a brilliant student, Charles had set her sights on a career in medicine.
Yesterday, Charles’ form teacher Kerwyn Turnbull told mourners that the student’s tragic end must not be forgotten. “Today she is looking at us gathered here and only she knows her end. I am sure her end will not go in vain as she is a reminder to us all to be watchful and to be careful,” Turnbull said.
Charles’ mother Sharon and siblings were inconsolable as they looked at the small casket containing the charred pieces of bones which were all that was recovered. “Her death reminds us that we should always be in touch with relatives all the time. I am suggesting that you parents have good communicative strategies so you can be aware of where your children are at all times,” Turnbull said. At the end of his tribute, Turnbull who said he was Charles’ form teacher from Form Three to Form Five, presented Charles’ mother with a julie mango plant.
Charles’ sister Petra delivered a tearful eulogy in which she recalled the fun times all the siblings had. She described her sister as a role model who always did right.
Also paying tribute was school principal Theresa Cardinez who said Charles’ passing has been a “difficult journey” and to date, both teachers and students are still trying to understand how this could happen to “someone so beautiful and lovely as Octavia.”
Officiating Pastor Calvin Arrindell called on the youth to turn their lives over to God.
Following the discovery of the charred remains, bone fragments were sent abroad so that DNA samples could be extracted for forensic testing to confirm identity.
It took several months before Charles’ remains were finally handed over to her family for yesterday’s final rites. One person has since been arrested and charged for Charles’ murder.
Following the service, Charles’ remains were interred at the Cap-de-Ville Public Cemetery in Point Fortin.