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A 25-year-old Palo Seco woman is in police custody as police investigate the death of a seven-year-old girl who was strangled.
The suspect spoke to an imam in Claxton Bay before police took her into custody.
Little Mckenzie Hope Rechier, of 7 Road Extension, Palo Seco, was found dead on a mattress in an incomplete wooden shack at about 12.05 am on Saturday. The structure does not have electricity or pipe-borne water and is located in a forested area accessed by a muddy track.
Mckenzie’s grandmother Brenda Persad said, “At the end of the day, I did not know what was going on in her (suspect’s) head. She never expressed herself to me. She has been telling other people what she was going through. I tried my best with her.”
Brenda Persad recounts her last memories of her grandaughter, Mckenzie Hope Rechier during an interview in Palo Seco on Saturday. – ANGELO MARCELLE
Mckenzie would have turned eight in October. She was a former student of Palo Seco Government School who was recently transferred to a primary school in La Brea.
Persad, 47, was inconsolable when Newsday visited her home.
She said the family learned the suspect confided in people that they would “no longer be seeing them just now.” The suspect made the comments a few weeks ago, unknown to relatives.
The suspect moved into the structure about two months ago. She previously lived in La Brea after a relationship ended.
Persad recalled she was awakened around midnight on learning the child was dead and had been alone in the shack. She walked through a track that leads to the shack to find out what happened.
Weeping, Persad said, “I was in shock going there. My grandchild looked like an angel on the mattress. I didn’t know she would have done something like this. She had no right to do what she did. I don’t want to judge her.”
“I love my grandchild, and I want her back. I wish I could have done more for her. She was my first grand. She was my mermaid. She loved mermaids and look at the weather.”
The unemployed suspect is reported to have said she left the girl alone at about 4 pm on Friday. She went to a supermarket with a male friend, 40, from Chinese Village, La Brea.
Police said she asked the friend to take her to visit her imam who was at a Claxton Bay mosque.
He complied, and they met the imam at around 10.20 pm.
The imam accompanied the woman and the friend to the shack, where they saw the child’s body in a fetal position. The body had marks on the right side of the neck and the child’s face was swollen.
The imam called Santa Flora police who informed Homicide Bureau Region III.
Cpl Aguillera and WPC Monsegue of the Santa Flora station found the girl’s body.
Persad recalled that in 2016, the suspect’s two-month-old son died from bronchitis and lung infection. The following year, the bereaved mother spent 14 days in the psychiatric ward of the San Fernando General Hospital.
Persad said, “She was depressed about losing the child. I never met that child. I often asked her to speak to me, and she did not.”
Persad works as a security guard on a 6 am-6 pm shift. She said the suspect and Mckenzie spent Thursday night with her and other relatives, and she appeared “normal.”
The girl was afraid of the darkness and the bushes and did not want to spend the night at the shack.
When Persad left on Friday morning, Mckenzie was still asleep.
During the day, relatives spoke to Persad, saying the suspect and Mckenzie went to the shack. On Friday afternoon, they saw the suspect alone.
Persad said, “When they saw her, she asked for a cigarette and she was smoking and crying. She did not tell anyone anything, so no one knew what was happening. I myself did not know. I returned in the evening and went straight to bed because I was tired.”
“She told them she sent the child by her grandmother in Tarodale. I don’t know who she was talking about. The friend said she called him at around 2 pm. He came, picked her up, and when he asked for Hope (Mckenzie), she told him the same thing,” Persad said.
The incomplete wooden shack where the body of seven-year-old McKenzie Hope Rechier was found in Palo Seco on Saturday. – ANGELO MARCELLE
A neighbor, Michelle Alexander, said the suspect’s demeanor changed in the past few weeks.
Standing next to the suspect’s close relatives as rain fell, Alexander said the suspect was no longer taking care of herself.
About three weeks ago, and out of the blue, the suspect said, “We wouldn’t be here soon.”
Fearing something terrible was about to happen, Alexander asked the suspect to reconsider her statement. Alexander tried offering encouraging words saying children are the future.
“I said children are our future. I said Mckenzie could be a lawyer, doctor, or police. I asked why she would want to take that from her.”
The suspect responded that she was tired of people using and abusing her. Alexander recalled the suspect saying she always gave her all to everybody without getting anything in return.
“She liked to dress up and look nice. But she was no longer taking care of herself or the child… She never told me anything about anybody beating her, or anything like that.”
Alexander said she called “a public official and the police” who promised to help. She did not give details of who she called.
Alexander believes the suspect was “crying out for help,” but no one came to her rescue.
“We took her to church, and pastors prayed for her,” Alexander said. Relatives and residents said they never expected anything like this to happen in the community.
Insp Corrie, Sgts Gosine and Deo, WPC Valdez, and other officers visited the scene. The police also questioned the friend but did not detain him.
This story has been updated to include additional information. Read the original below:
A 25-year-old Palo Seco woman is now in police custody after she confessed to a religious leader that she strangled a seven-year-old girl.
Dead is Mckenzie Hope Rechia of 7 Road Extension, Palo Seco.
WPC Monsegue and Cpl Aguillera of the Santa Flora police station found the girl’s body at around 12.05 am on Saturday on a mattress at her home.
A police report said the unemployed suspect, a relative, reported that she left the girl alone in the house at about 4 pm on Friday. She went to a supermarket with a male friend, 40, from Chinese Village, La Brea.
She asked the friend to take her to visit her imam who was at a Claxton Bay mosque.
He complied and they met the imam at around 10.20 pm.
She confessed to the imam that she strangled Mckenzie, who was left unresponsive at home.
The imam accompanied the woman and the friend to the house, where they saw the child’s body in a fetal position. The body had red marks on the right side of the neck and her face was swollen.
The imam called the Santa Flora police, who also informed the Homicide Bureau Region III police.
Insp Corrie, Sgts Gosine and Deo, WPC Valdez, and other police visited the scene.