By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Tribune Chief Reporter
THE family of a four-year-old girl who died in hospital on Friday after being brought to the facility with injuries is struggling to accept the situation, with one relative sorrowfully telling The Tribune yesterday “we sent her to her death”.
According to police, sometime around 5pm officers received information from medical practitioners at Princess Margaret Hospital that a female child was brought into the facility unresponsive.
Police said initial investigations revealed the child, a resident of a major sub-division, sustained several injuries to her body, from which she later died.
Police are awaiting an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death, however.
Although police have not officially released the child’s name, she was identified as Bella Walker by relatives who spoke to The Tribune yesterday.
A man and woman have been arrested and are in police custody assisting with the matter, police said. Their relationship to the victim was not disclosed.
When contacted about online speculation about the child’s death, Police Commissioner Paul Rolle said yesterday: “We do not speculate, but are awaiting an autopsy.”
Mary Grant, Bella’s 79-year-old great grandmother, said the “friendly and smart” little girl primarily lived with her and her 81-year-old husband since she was a two-week-old baby.
That changed about two months ago when she was sent to New Providence to live in a female relative’s care.
“Everybody is crying (saying) we send Bella to her death,” Mrs Grant tearfully said yesterday. “Everybody. I couldn’t sleep last night. Oh Jesus!
“I am in mourning. I didn’t sleep last night. We had that baby from two weeks to four-years-old. We just send her home to her (female relative) about two months now and the baby gone? You know what kinda stress that is on me? I am 79 years old.
“My daughter is the (child’s) grammy, but the baby stays here with me.”
Mrs Grant said she has not been in contact with any official so she was unsure of the child’s cause of death.
Asked about online speculation about the child’s injuries, Mrs Grant tearfully said it was not something she wanted to accept.
“I hear that too but they ain’t say it. Oh God I don’t want (to) hear that, Jesus!”
She reflected on Bella’s outgoing personality.
“My husband (is) 81 and I (am) 79 and we cook (our) own breakfast and she’ll come in the kitchen and she’ll say ‘Grammy what’s for breakfast?’ like she is a grown person. She was too advanced for her age and so smart. Everybody loved her. You would have loved her.”
The family is hoping justice is served, Mrs Grant said.
The death sparked outrage from scores of people on social media.
Among them are parliamentarians, community activists and an Office of the Prime Minister official.
In a tweet Sunday, Transport and Housing Minister JoBeth Coleby-Davis said as a mother of a young girl she was deeply saddened by the news. Mrs Coleby-Davis said while she joined the call for justice among concerned citizens, more must be done through legislation and policies.
STATE Social Services and Urban Development Minister Lisa Rahming implored Bahamians to take a stand against gender-based violence and violence against children.
“We can only do this by being our brother’s keeper, protecting each other and by this we would have a safer Bahamas,” Ms Rahming said.
OPM Communications Director Latrae Rahming said in a tweet that more had to be done to protect the nation’s children.