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Shot girl laid to rest

By NEWSDAY REPORTER Wednesday, March 26 2014

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UNIMAGINABLE GRIEF: Anthony Lavia collapses in grief at the funeral service yesterday at the Petit Valley Pentecostal Church, for his daughter Murchan...
UNIMAGINABLE GRIEF: Anthony Lavia collapses in grief at the funeral service yesterday at the Petit Valley Pentecostal Church, for his daughter Murchan...

SCHOOLGIRL Murchannah Lavia was laid to rest yesterday following an emotion-filled funeral service at the Petit Valley Pentecostal Church at Stoer Drive Extension, not too far from her home where she was shot dead last week Thursday.

One family member not present at the funeral service yesterday was a 15-year-old boy who was formally charged with manslaughter after Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Joan Honore-Paul gave investigators the go-ahead to lay the charge.

The teenager, who has been kept at Maraval Police Station since last Thursday, when it was alleged that while playing with a gun, he shot Murchannah who was revising her schoolwork, is expected to appear before a Port-of-Spain magistrate today to answer the charge.

News that the boy was formally charged, was made known to the family only minutes before the start of the funeral service which was attended by relatives, schoolmates, teachers, friends, neighbours and others.

The church, where 14-year-old Murchannah frequently attended services with her parents Omadavee and Anthony Lavia was packed to capacity — testimony to the impact she had on the lives of many, many people, during her 14 years of life.

As the coffin, bearing the teen’s remains, was wheeled into the church, screams filled the air. “Oh God! Murchannah come back to us!” a woman cried. As the hymn “When we get to Heaven” was sung, the screams grew louder. Minister Fabian Sandiford, who officiated at the service, called for the authorities to temper justice with mercy, as he referred to the teenaged relative charged with Murchanna’s death.

“You have to understand, this family is not just experiencing the loss of one child but two,” Sandiford said.

Member of Parliament for Diego Martin Central, Dr Amery Browne, who attended the service later told Newsday, “this is a tragedy for the entire community, Murchannah was a brilliant, loving and decent young lady who had a world of promise.”

Several students of the Providence Girls Catholic School, where Murchannah attended, were in tears as they gazed upon her body in the coffin. “Just knowing her was a blessing. Murchannah was an example to all students at Providence Girls. She will be missed,” cried a student.

Saying that Murchannah had dreams of becoming a lawyer, the student turned in the direction of the coffin and said, “Murchannah baby girl, you are in a better place.”

Murchannah’s father Anthony Lavia, on hearing his eldest daughter Nadisha Lavia, reciting a poem in memory of Murchannah, collapsed to the ground as he wept and called out his daughter’s name. Following the service, Murchannah was laid to rest at the Cameron Road Public Cemetery.

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