Saturday, February 24, 2018

What's the missing link to solving Rachael's murder?

Rachael Ramkissoon

Heartbroken relatives of murdered schoolgirl Rachael Ramkissoon remembered her in prayer last Saturday.

It has been one year since the 16-year-old was murdered on her way to school and her body dumped in bushes not far from her home in San Raphael.

Ramkissoon, an only child, was wearing her school uniform when she was found.

Her family held a thanksgiving in her memory at the Talparo RC Church and then a procession to the nearby savannah.

There was a fireworks display and then her relatives released lanterns.

Ramkissoon's grandmother, Kamla Ramkissoon, said time had not eased the pain her family was experiencing.

“For a mother losing a child is a pain you cannot explain. I am a grandmother and I can tell you it is the worst pain anyone can ever experience. The physical pain a woman endures to have a baby is nothing compared to the emotional pain Rachel's mother is feeling now. Her father is withdrawn and keeping to himself. He does not speak about his daughter,” she said.

Ramkissoon said the family was disappointed in the police response. No one was charged in the killing.

The family had provided information to police, she said, but nothing was ever done.

“I don't know what to say about the police. They said officers are compiling a file and they have some evidence but there is a missing link. That is why crime will not go down in Trinidad because none is being solved,” she said.

Ramkissoon said her granddaughter was an aspiring attorney who wanted to make a difference in Trinidad and Tobago.

The teenager who attended North Eastern College, Sangre Grande, was taken as she was travelling to school on January 13.

She was found dead that same day, laying among bushes in San Raphael still clad in her school uniform.

Three days earlier, Ramkissoon had written two subjects in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) – Principles of Business (POB) and Social Studies.

She had planned to write two more subjects later that month, Human and Social Biology and Office Administration.

Following her death the family was presented with Ramkissoon's results.

The teenager secured a distinction in POB and a grade two in Social Studies.

Ramkissoon was not pursuing Social Studies as a subject at school, but chose to study it on her own and write the exam.

In June 2016, Ramkissoon wrote Mathematics and English Language examinations and obtained two distinctions.

Kamla Ramkissoon said, “She was naturally bright. She didn't have to write the exams, but wanted to try it out. In Form Four she wrote exams and got distinctions in Maths and English. She chose to study Social Studies on her own, no lessons and look how well she performed. She had two more subjects to write in January but she was killed. They took away a bright child. She excelled in everything she put her mind to. I still cannot get over this.”

Ramkissoon said her granddaughter had planned to move to San Fernando where she would pursue her Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE).

“She would move in with me and we would try to get her in a school here to do A Levels. She wanted to get a scholarship, to become a lawyer. I was looking forward to her coming to live with me,” she said.

She said the teenager loved her family and wanted to be the one to take them out of poverty.

Rachel Ramkissoon, of Talparo, missed the school bus on the morning and called a cousin to ask the driver to return for her. Relatives said the teen had studied late into the night and woke up late that morning.

The bus driver did not return and Ramkissoon took a taxi to school. She never arrived.

That afternoon, a hunter found the teen's body.

An autopsy found that she was strangled. There was no evidence that Ramkissoon was sexually assaulted.

Homicide officers have interviewed several p