BRUISES ABOUT BODY: Etean George-Smith, two, believed to have been killed by a close male relative yesterday.

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Two-year-old boy beaten to death

By Gyasi Gonzales gyasi.gonzales@trinidadexpress.com

DOMESTIC ABUSE claimed the life of a two-year-old boy yesterday even as his mother was at the hospital seeking treatment for her own injuries.

Police were called out to Freddie Street, Aranguez yesterday after paramedics responded to a distress call involving the child Etean George-Smith.

Investigators said the child's mother, Davika Ranie-Roopchand, 21, suffered 12 months of abuse at the hands of a close relative and the suspect was taken into custody to assist in the probe.

Ranie-Roopchand and the suspect are originally from the east coast of Demerara in Guyana but had been living in Trinidad, "for about five years," said one of their neighbours.

Ranie-Roopchand had previously lived with another man named, Edward Smith, the father of the dead child. He too was on the scene yesterday and sat in a garage with his head down saying nothing.

According to the police, Ranie-Roopchand and the suspect had an argument on Wednesday night, a usual occurrence, according to neighbours.

She left their apartment and went to the nearby home of her mother. The boy remained with the suspect.

Police said that around 7.30 a.m. yesterday the suspect contacted the Emergency Health Services (EHS) telling them he found the boy, "not moving," on a bed. When they arrived they could do nothing as the child had been dead for a few hours, according to investigators.

EHS personnel told police they saw some, "nasty looking bruises," below both the child's eyes. There were other marks on violence on his body. Barataria Police and a team of officers led by ASP Mahabir responded to the report and they in turn called the Homicide Bureau as well as a District Medical Officer.

Investigators spoke to the suspect for about an hour at the scene before they took him into custody.

By about 11.30 a.m. word about what happened had spread through the community made up mostly of Guyanese nationals. Several neighbours stood in front the house.

Bibi Singh, one of the neighbours said that the couple had been staying at the apartment for the last five months as their last landlady asked them to leave because of the frequent beatings.

The landlady, Janet Khan, who also arrived on the scene, said she often took care of the child and had grown quite close to him.

"He was a real nice baby you know," she said, as she broke down in tears.

She said on Sunday neighbours rushed over to the apartment as they heard the child being beaten.

"Up to Sunday he (the suspect) beat the child and the mother," she said, "but she didn't leave that time. Is like she liked the licks."

She added that the boy's biological father knew his son was being beaten and made numerous attempts to take the boy but Ranie-Roopchand always prevented him from doing so.

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