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August 16, 2011
Boy drowns

Desmond Elliot John was only seven years old when the unforgiving waters of Byera beach snatched his life.{{more}}

On Friday, August 12, John’s lifeless body was fished out of the waters of Mt. Young beach, after he had been missing for over 24 hours.

Hundreds of villagers and curious onlookers gathered on the beach as the body of the grade 2 pupil of the Pamelus Burke Primary School was brought ashore by his father.

The child’s grandfather, Benedict Daniel, says he is still trying to accept the reality that the child he raised as his own son is now dead!

“I think I go feel it more than anybody else because I raised him since he was a baby and he was living with me…,” Daniel moaned.

The 60-year-old gardener said he left home on Thursday, August 11, to go to work. He said he left Desmond and his friend Oranzo sitting around the kitchen table eating cereal.

“I tell him (Desmond) after he finish eating that he must go up by Sonia (a neighbour) like he does always do,” Daniel recounted.

Desmond never went.

Daniel added that while he was at work, he received a telephone call asking where the two youngsters were.

“I say they at home, but the person tell me no, like one ah dem drown ah bayside…,” Daniel stated.

Daniel said he left work immediately and caught a minibus to Byera.

“When I reach pon the scene, I see ah whole heap ah people on the beach. I ask Oranzo what happen, and he tell me that de three ah dem been bathing and from that me ain’t ask him nothing else after,” Daniel added.

Sonia Phillips, who took care of the boy whenever his grandfather went to work, said she was was shocked when she received the news about Desmond’s misfortune.

“He does always come by me and even call me mommy. I been home when the neighbour call out and say ah little boy drown,” Phillips said. Immediately, Phillips began wondering why Desmond had not come to her home that morning and said she called the child’s father to inquire about Desmond and was told that he was at his grandfather’s house. She later found out that he was lost at sea.

“I just trying to keep hope alive. He was just loved by everybody. I know he was a soft-spoken child who used to love play…,” she added.

When contacted, the child’s father was still choked with emotions and did not offer any comment.

A post mortem examination is to be carried out to determine the cause of death.