By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Tribune Chief Reporter
BELLA Walker’s paternal grandmother Meredith Grant says she is appalled by certain public statements made in the wake of the child’s death and an impending legal fight over the little girl’s remains.
“All we want to do is lay Bella to rest,” Ms Grant said yesterday.
She suggested that because the child lived with her from the time she was a two-week-old baby until a few months before her death, the paternal family should have the right to bury her.
In an interview yesterday, Ms Grant questioned what role maternal grandmother Monalisa Walker played in Bella’s life, adding that had it been a different scenario the child would not have been living in Grand Bahama with her father’s family.
Ms Grant said the child’s father Deno Smith, Jr, and other relatives just wanted the opportunity to let the toddler rest in peace with a proper burial.
Ms Grant admitted Mr Smith never signed Bella’s birth certificate, but said this was no secret to anyone and was never an issue.
Last week in an interview with Our News, Ms Walker said she was a part of Bella’s life and likened the ordeal to a “nightmare from hell.”
Ms Grant took issue with this.
“We have to answer to whatever is going on because we had to get some stuff done to prove that we had the child because we had Bella, actually I had Bella from she was two-weeks-old,” Ms Grant told The Tribune.
“My son was summoned to appear and so we have to get an affidavit done saying what happened in her life and how long we had her.
“The lady is saying that she was a part of Bella’s life and I can’t tell you when that was because we always had her.”
She continued: “So, it is appalling to me that she would go on TV to say that she was a part of her life. (If that were the case). . .I don’t think that I would have had her from two weeks knowing that he didn’t sign for her. It isn’t that you are just finding out that he didn’t sign for her. You always knew that.”
Ms Grant said her son has not been handling the situation well.
“All we want to do is lay Bella to rest. Bella is not at peace and when she (Ms Walker) would have seen her body, she would have known that Bella is not at peace.
“I saw her on Tuesday and it wasn’t easy. We just need her to be at peace. Just let us bury her.”
Attorney Bjorn Ferguson, who is representing Ms Walker, has said the murdered toddler’s body was removed from the morgue and taken to a funeral home without the consent of anyone who has legal custody of her remains.
Mr Ferguson wrote to Serenity Funeral Home & Cremation to demand the remains be released to Ms Walker.
Mr Ferguson’s letter to the funeral home selected by Mr Smith read in part: “If we fail to hear from you by noon on Friday 26, November 2021, we will commence legal proceedings on behalf of Miss Monalisa Walker against your company in the Supreme Court of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.”
His letter dated November 25 also said Bella’s mother had sole custody of the child and by virtue of the fact that she has been remanded, she has given that authority now to her mother to deal with her burial arrangement while the situation plays out.
“On the 5th day of November, 2021, our client was advised of the death of her granddaughter, D’onya Bella Walker. Our client further advised us that she identified her granddaughter’s body at the Rand Lab as at the 8th day of November, 2021. Upon identifying the body, our client did not provide any instructions to the agents of the Rand Lab relative to release of the body or the burial of the deceased.
“We have been advised that Deno Alexander Smith, Jr, is the putative father of the deceased and is not so entitled to have control of the body of the deceased or to make any burial arrangements relative to the same.”
Mr Ferguson said Mr Smith never signed Bella’s birth register and that her mother had sole custody of Bella.
“He can’t just insert himself in this equation, the law doesn’t allow him,” he said.
The matter is scheduled to be heard before the Supreme Court today at 3pm.