Rev Steve Sharp is calling on the family of three-month-old Akielah Yolanda Gill, who was found dead one week ago at her Sea Lots home, to band together during this trying time, and not to cast judgment on baby Akielah’s mother or father.
Rev Sharpe made this plea yesterday morning during the funeral service for baby Akielah, which took place at the AJ Nella’s Morning Glory Funeral Chapel, Duke Street, Port of Spain.
“My heart goes out to you and your family, truly. Losing a child is no easy thing, and especially when she has not had much time on this earth, it makes it even more difficult. And while we mourn the fact that a child was lost at such a tender age, we need to appreciate the time that was given to us to spend with this angel. But I want to say now, that you should all stand together. When one mother cries, all mothers cry. And this is a situation that is not limited to your family circle alone either. It has been put in the public domain, and the entire country has seen it, and I know they would have all felt something in their heart over this loss.
“But beyond that, many questions will be raised, as to how this child could have died in such a manner at a tender age? What could have been done differently to prevent this death? They will say the parents could have done this, and the parents could have done that, and their criticisms will mount against them.
“But what I am asking all of you here to do right now, is to stand together, and give these two the support they would need. Mistakes may or may not have been made. But life is full of accidents, and uncertainty, and the only certain thing we know, is that God is in charge.
“So what is important now, is that this family stays together. A family that prays together, stays together, and what this family needs right now is prayer, and togetherness, especially as we move forward into an uncertain future,” Rev Sharpe said.
On the morning of Good Friday (April 18), baby Akielah’s body was found lying on her back on the bed of a 36-year-old male relative at LP 33, Beetham Highway, Sea Lots. Police said when they arrived at the scene they observed vomit coming from the baby’s nose and mouth.
However, due to the fact that the baby was sleeping on the same bed as the male relative, he was detained pending further enquiries. Baby Akielah’s 26-year-old mother was also detained and questioned, but both parties were released by the morning of Gloria Saturday.
An autopsy on Tuesday, performed by Dr Hughvon Des Vignes at the Forensic Science Centre in St James, revealed the three-month-old child died as a result of asphyxia caused by choking on her own vomit. Due to this, police investigators were expected to revisit the statements made by the mother and male relative.
Investigations are continuing.