by Bria King
Although having died 19 months ago, emotions were still raw for the family of 12-year-old Dwayne Stephon Miller, who was finally laid to rest on Tuesday.
In November 2011, five weeks after going missing from his home, Miller’s decomposed body was found in an area of the Layou mountains with the help of McCarthy “DJ” Patterson, the man charged with the boy’s murder.
Friends and relatives gathered on Tuesday at the Layou Miracle Church Tabernacle to lay his remains to rest.
Chester Hendrickson, Miller’s football coach, fought back tears at the funeral as he spoke about the youngster.
Hendrickson described the former student of the Central Leeward Secondary School as a jovial person, especially among his teammates and someone who had a deep love for the game of football. The coach also told the congregation that the boy liked to be at home and said that when he heard that Miller had gone missing, he knew that something was wrong.
“I say anywhere he dey, they have to have him tie or something,” Hendrickson said. “Sometimes we plan to go a little bit late, next thing he say ‘coach I going home to bathe,’ this guy just loved to be home.”
Former Central Leeward representative and uncle of the deceased, Louis Straker also expressed his condolences to the family. He also apologized for his brother’s negligence in not being at his son’s funeral.
In an impromptu speech, the former minister of Foreign Affairs made the point that all over the world, children no longer seem to be safe whether at home, school or even church.
“Angels of the devil seem to be on the loose, who try their best to do harm to those who are defenseless and to those who are most vulnerable,” he said.
Referring to several scriptures in the Bible, Straker conceded that it must have been someone deeply influenced by the devil who could commit such a heinous crime against Miller.
“The young fellow has not even started to enjoy life, had not even entered upon his teenage years,” and had to suffer such a terrible death,” Straker said.
“My heart goes out to his brothers and sisters, to his mother. And to all his family members who are deeply bereaved by his passing.”
After a small, yet touching ceremony, the congregation made its way to the Layou cemetery, near the Petroglyphs, to bury the child-sized casket that contained Miller’s remains.
Emotions ran high as Miller’s mother and other family members wailed as they placed the casket in the grave and started covering it over with dirt. His aunt, Anesta Miller, screamed his name, her pain very evident, as if her nephew had died only yesterday.
Patterson was charged with the murder of the 12-year-old and appeared at the Serious Offences Court on March 5, 2013.
He was not allowed to plea.
The matter was adjourned to June 21 for Preliminary Inquiry.