Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Brutal murder - Headless body found in Red Hills believed to be that of missing 11-year-old girl

TANEISHA LEWIS, Observer staff reporter lewist@jamaicaobserver.com
Monday, September 29, 2008

Nordia Campbell (left), mother of 11-year-old Ananda Dean, is consoled by a family friend after looking at the remains of a body believed to be that of her daughter. The body was found in Belvedere, St Andrew. (Photo: Karl McLarty)

SCREAMS of anguish bellowed throughout the community of Belvedere in Red Hills, St Andrew yesterday as firefighters removed a heavily decomposed body believed to be that of 11-year-old Ananda Dean from a steep precipice along Cypress Drive - miles away from where she was last seen after she went missing almost two weeks ago.

"A she, a she.. Oh God," Ananda's aunt, Tamika Campbell bawled, after viewing the headless remains and then falling to the ground seconds later. Upon hearing the news, Nordia Campbell, Ananda's mother, also fainted at the thought that her daughter may have been brutally murdered.

Because of the advanced state of decomposition, no one was able to positively identify the body as that of Ananda. However, some family members, including Campbell, are convinced that it is in fact the little girl, mainly because a black size two school shoes and a navy blue uniform, similar to ones owned by the seventh-grade student of Swallowfield All-Age School, were found at the scene.

Yesterday, Deputy Superintendent Carol McKenzie of the police's St Andrew North Division told the Observer that DNA tests would have to be done to determine the identity of the body.

Ananda, who lived with her family on Whitehall Avenue in Kingston, was last seen on September 17 boarding a bus en route to Half-Way-Tree after school. Several of her school books were found a day after she went missing strewn along a pathway in the community of Pembroke Hall, miles away from where she was last seen.

Firefighters help to hoist a wooden box containing the remains believed to be that of 11-year-old Ananda Dean that was found yesterday over a precipice along the Cypress Road in Belvedere, St Andrew. (Photo: Karl McLarty)

The body was discovered about 10:00 am by residents who decided to investigate the cause of a lingering nasty odour that had been plaguing nearby houses for almost two weeks.
"At first we thought it was a dead animal, but after one week passed and we realised that the scent wasn't going away some people decided to go see what it was," a resident told the Observer. "It was when they chopped out the bush and went up there they found out that it was the little girl's body up there."

It appeared that the body had been thrown from the precipice into overgrown bushes, which concealed it until yesterday.
The residents also intimated that they may have overlooked clues that Ananda's body was disposed of in their community.

"People said they saw the uniform on the road for the longest while but they never knew it was the little girl's own," said another resident who did not wish to be named.

The police are speculating that the body may have been dumped hours or a day after Ananda went missing, given the state of decomposition, which resulted in a pathologist being called in to perform an on-the-spot post-mortem. It was naked and headless. In fact, a skull was all that remained of the head. There were also suggestions that she may have been raped. However, this could not be confirmed by the police.

Yesterday, it took the firefighters from the Stony Hill Fire Department almost three hours to remove the body resting more than 10 feet from the top of Cypress Drive. Once they were able to access the body, it was then put in a wooden box and hoisted up onto the road, keeping the scores of residents that gathered to see if the body was truly that of Ananda - the girl whose picture had been posted on fliers, placed on light posts, buses and in stores in the Corporate Area - in suspense.