Sophia boy found in trench drowned

A post-mortem examination (PME) performed on the body of Dacwan Sutherland, which was fished out of a Sophia trench on Thursday morning, revealed that he died as a result asphyxiation due to drowning compounded by compression injury to the neck.

A release from the police yesterday said the post mortem was performed by Dr Nehaul Singh and that they are continuing their investigation. The child’s mother, Zon Park, further revealed to Stabroek News that the police disclosed to her that her seven-year-old son had been sexually molested. The woman yesterday called for the police to conduct a thorough investigation into his death and expressed the hope that the person responsible for his death would be caught and brought to justice.

The woman told Stabroek News that the PME result confirmed her suspicion that her son was killed and had not fallen into the trench while crossing it on Wednesday afternoon.

Yesterday the grieving mother and the child’s father John Sutherland both called on the police to investigate his death. John Sutherland, an amputee, made a sad picture as he sat on the stairs of the Sophia Police Station and stared forlornly at his only child’s photograph.

“Is me only child too and now he dead, what I go do? I use to tell she [Park] that Sophia is not a good place. Why she come and live here? She lef a big house and come here,” the man said as Park stood by quietly.

She later said that while her son’s body would be taken back to Corentyne, Berbice – where they are from originally – on Sunday and laid to rest, she would not return to the ancient county. “Although right now I can’t sleep in the house because Dacwan dead, I not going back to Berbice,” she said.

It was on Wednesday around 1pm that the woman sent the boy to their ‘C’ Field Sophia home to collect some items and return to the Digicel Cell Site in ‘B’ Field Sophia where she was on duty as a guard. The woman said when he did not return she went looking for him but no one had seen him.

Yesterday she recalled that when she asked a man in the area if he had seen her son he hesitated before answering. “I ask he if he see me son and he tek a lil time before he answer and then he say he ent see he,” the woman told Stabroek News. She said she felt the man might have seen something and should be questioned by the police.

The child’s body was discovered in a trench in ‘B’ Field Sophia early Thursday morning where there is a submerged bridge that connects two streets. The mother and residents had pointed out that even if the child had fallen into the trench and drowned he should have still been wearing his clothing.

The child was found clad only in his briefs and what appeared to be blood was seen at the base of his nostrils. A bag and two water bottles were found in the trench along with the child’s slippers and cap. His mother said some other items he would have collected from their home were also missing.

Residents had stated that the child was always in the company of his mother and it was strange that he was sent out by himself. But the woman said she had no alternative as she could not have left her worksite. One resident said the child was very attached to his mother and used to say that when he became an adult he would have trained to be a doctor to support his mother.

Park, with a sad laugh, yesterday recalled that her son always spoke of taking care of her when he became an adult. “He use to say when he get big he go build a big house and all of we go live, he and he wife and children and he mother and how he go buy a bus, car and truck,” the woman said.

She said they moved to the Sophia address about two years ago and since then it was always she and her son. “Now I don’t know how I go live. Today I went into a store and I see lil children shoes and I think bout he and start to cry. I think about how I woulda be buying school shoes fuh he and suh,” the woman said sadly.

The boy’s death recalls that of Letroy Harris, the 13-year-old who was found in the trench outside the National Park in November 2006. Persons driving along Thomas Lands had noticed the child’s naked body floating in the trench. At the time of his death Harris was a student of St Winefride’s Secondary School and a resident of Sophia.

A PME had revealed that he died from drowning and blunt trauma to the head. It was also discovered that he had been sexually assaulted before he was killed. His murder is unsolved and no one was ever held for questioning.

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