"ANY case like this, where there is inter-abdominal or intracranial trauma which ended in the death of a child is called a homicide. So, simply speaking, the girl was killed."
These were the words of forensic pathologist Dr Valery Alexandrov, hours after he performed an autopsy on the body of two-year-old Aliyah Johnson yesterday.
Alexandrov made it clear that after his careful examination of every bone and part of Aliyah's body, her injuries were consistent with at least two blows to the abdominal area.
The toddler, Alexandrov pointed out, was not a victim of sexual abuse, but was malnourished.
Aliyah died from acute internal blood loss and blunt force abdominal trauma, Alexandrov stated on her death certificate.
Alexandrov said she was punched in the abdominal area at least twice and there was no way she could have sustained her injuries by a fall, which is a regular claim made by suspects involved in child abuse.
He said, "The bottom line of this autopsy case is that I can state with 1,000 per cent of medical certainty, and confidence that this injury to the liver under no circumstance could be sustained in a fall, but in my practice, every person who is assaulting a child usually claims that the child fell. "The bottom line is the child was abused by beating. I cannot state exactly how many blows were inflicted, but the ruptured wounds were on two separate parts of the liver."
Alexandrov added, "This means that these two ruptured wounds were inflicted by two different blows. That's why I am saying at least two, but there could have been more. The child was pretty weak and malnourished. What I'm saying, she's not a three-year-old healthy child like we used to see." Aliyah would have been three years old in July.
Regarding the reported alleged sexual abuse, Alexandrov said the police handed him the medical records from the San Fernando General Hospital, where Aliyah was examined, which stated there were visible signs of "tear and hemorrhaging" in the vaginal area.
"But based on my thorough examination, I didn't see any injury to the private parts. The vagina was intact, the external genital was intact and that why I didn't do the autopsy yesterday (Tuesday) and I didn't want to rush because I did 14 autopsies."
He added, "Prior to the autopsy, we did a complete X-ray survey of this girl's body. So we took X-ray of every part of the body and there were no fractures at all. Every bone in the body was intact.
"She was physically assaulted and any physical assault against a child who cannot offer resistance or any defence is child abuse," Alexandrov said.
He said after the liver was ruptured, the blood flowed into the abdominal cavity and Aliyah lost a substantial amount of the one litre of blood in her body. "This unfortunate girl lost at least 250 grammes, which is 25 per cent of the total volume of blood in the whole body which is life incompatible," he said.
Meanwhile, Johnson's aunt, Marissa Johnson, yesterday denied a report published in yesterday's Express, which quoted relatives as saying that Aliyah's mom, Candice, was a confused teenager with an unwanted pregnancy.
Aliyah's death has gravely affected her family, Johnson said, adding , "we want justice, otherwise we will take this matter in our own hands. My father is not doing well with this causing him to visit the doctor regular. My mom, the whole house is wreck. My whole family is wrecked".
She added, "I don't know about him (the alleged abuser) much. All I know is he's abusive. He does hit her. He don't smile at all. He came when I was there last Tuesday by my mom and he didn't want to come inside to interact with anybody. He's always one side by himself and I believe he is the person to blame for this innocent child's death.
"It have no way they could say she is to be blamed or she didn't want the child. She loved the child. I asked her for the child because I didn't have no girl children, I had three boys and she didn't want to give up. She will never give up that child for nothing. When she found out it was a girl she was having, she was very excited," Johnson said.