‘THAT’S MY BABY’
By NALINEE SEELAl and RYAN HAMILTION-DAVIS Wednesday, February 26 2014
IN THE midst of the Carnival revelry, a woman was yesterday in tears as she did what no mother ought to do — identify the body of their murdered child. Alicia Lazarus Henry could not contain her emotions at the Forensic Science Centre in St James after she told police that the semi-nude body of a girl, found on Monday, was that of her daughter.
“That’s my baby...that’s my daughter lying there!” a tearful Lazarus Henry screamed at the Centre shortly after she identified the body of her 17-year-old daughter Renee T’Anna Lazarus. The emotional woman referred to her dead daughter as, “my lovable reds”, as she was consoled by relatives. Lazarus Henry was led out into a waiting area where she wept for several minutes as she awaited the outcome of the autopsy. Shortly after midday, her face streaked with tears, a dazed Lazarus left the waiting room clutching the autopsy certificate in her hands.
Lazarus Henry said when she was contacted by police on Monday and told the body of a woman matching the description of her daughter, who went missing last week Friday, had been found in an estate at Cameron Road, Petit Valley, she hoped the body was not her daughter.
Lazarus Henry told Newsday that between the time on Monday when she was contacted by police and on Tuesday morning, as she was making her way to the centre, she prayed constantly, begging the Almighty to let her daughter still be alive. Her prayers went unanswered.
In an interview with Newsday, Lazarus Henry recalled that on Monday when she was contacted by police and told what the murder victim was wearing, she panicked, but still held onto hope that this was not her child the police had found.
“When they told me about the white socks and vest, I started to panic, because that was when I started to believe that it was my daughter who they found,” Lazarus Henry said. She added that the police told her on Monday that there was no form of identifying documents near the body whose face appeared to be bashed in.
What gave her hope, she said, was when officers said the colour of the victim’s hair was not what she remembered her daughter’s hair colour to be. When officers described the colour and type of underwear the victim was clad in, Lazarus Henry said she panicked again.
Newsday understands Renee left her Diego Martin home last Friday to purchase weaves in Port-of-Spain. She was last seen boarding a taxi in the Diego Martin area by a male relative.
Lazarus Henry recalled the last conversation she had with her daughter, saying Renee was hugging and kissing her and was very jovial last Friday.
“She was taking down all the baby pictures and looking at them. She told me ‘you know mommy, we still have our baby faces’,” Lazarus Henry said. “She was telling me, ‘you know, we resemble you.’ And she said, ‘I love you mummy’. I told her in jest, ‘what’s the matter? You going to die or something? It’s when a person about to die they does act like that.”
Lazarus Henry said little did she know that her words, said in joke, to Renee would come to pass. “Just before she left home, Renee hugged me. It was the last time I hugged my baby,” Lazarus Henry said.
Lazarus Henry yesterday revealed that last year, while her daughter was working at a supermarket in Diego Martin, she was almost raped by a taxi driver, but managed to escape. A report was made to police, but the man was never arrested.
Since that incident, relatives made every effort to ensure Renee’s safety including arranging safe transport for her. She described her daughter as a loveable, helpful, funny and talented youngster.
Sister Joanne Lazarus said that Renee was a person who saw the best in people. “If you were down, she would be the one to come and cheer you up,” Joanne said. Lazarus Henry said that the autopsy concluded that Renee was strangled with her own clothing.
“They killed her like a pig. They killed my baby. I need justice for my child’s murder,” Lazarus Henry cried.
Lazarus Henry told Newsday that while many people are attending fetes and enjoying themselves during the Carnival Season, her family will be in mourning because of the callous and selfish act of a person in taking Renee’s life.
“They are snatching away people’s mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters. Look what they did to my baby. I am really hurting. I am really hurting,” Lazarus Henry said. On Monday at about 7 am employees of a private estate at Cameron Road, Petit Valley were alerted to a foul stench coming from bushes, and when they checked they saw the body of a woman under a chenette tree.
Police were called in and a party of officers under Inspector Henry Dan visited the scene along with Homicide officers and the body was ordered removed to the Forensic Science Centre.
No arrest has been made.