Desperate to conceal the corpse of her teenaged daughter’s baby born out of wedlock, a La Brea grandmother hid the body for eight months inside a secret room of a La Brea house, before it was found by police on Wednesday.
While the rest of the community went about their normal business, the family of five slept, ate and played in the same house where the baby’s remains were kept. The child, named Mercy, was fully clothed in a matching outfit, diaper, hats and booties and was covered in a blanket on a bed. It is believed the baby was born at home on February 8 but died on March 12. The house, built of plyboard wood, remained vacant yesterday, but whispers of the ghastly find continued to circulate for miles around.
Neighbours, who requested anonymity, said the grandmother worked as a bottle collector and struggled to care for her six children, born from two relationships. Her eldest daughter, her pride and joy who attended a prestigious school in deep south, attained eight CXC subjects but shortly after getting her qualifications became pregnant, much to her mother’s chagrin.
A neighbour said the teen was not allowed to go out and when she had the baby in February, the grandmother claimed the child as her own.
“We knew it was not her baby but we didn’t say anything. We would see her walking the baby. Her daughter went about her own business. Then one day we did not see the baby at all,” a neighbour said. The grandmother then became withdrawn and refused to speak to anyone.
“She would pass us straight. Before she used to come here to charge her phone and she would ask us for little things, but a few months ago she just cut off everybody.”
Her three youngest children, aged 13, 14 and 16, stopped going to school because she could no longer afford to pay their passage.
“They also had no money to pay their electricity bill and then T&TEC came and cut off the electricity. They used to light flambeau,” the source said.
While they wondered about the whereabouts of the baby, nobody dared to ask the grandmother.
“It was her business and she was good with all of us, but then she suddenly stopped talking so I wasn’t about to ask her anything,” the neighbour said. The house where the baby died, perched on a hillside overlooking the multi-million dollar construction site of the Petrochemicals Complex at Union Industrial Estate, remained closed up most of the time.
Police said the youngest children were never told about the baby, but sometime last week the 13-year-old daughter peeped into the room and saw the skeletal remains. She confided in a friend and a report was later made to the police. On Wednesday around 3 pm, the officers went to the house and found the baby, fully clothed.
“We were shocked that this could happen right here. It is sad when someone is struggling to live and when something happens they do not know where to turn to. Our social services have to be better than this,” another resident said.
Up to late yesterday, four people were being interviewed by the police. The child’s remains were sent to the Forensic Science Centre, St James, for an autopsy. Relatives declined comment. La Brea police are continuing investigations.
Source Trinidad Gaurdian