Investigation Concludes in the Hostel Fire and Death of Four Young Girls

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Updated: September 27, 2016

Forty one weeks ago, a crowd had gathered on the roadside at mile 21 ½ miles on the George Price Highway watching fire officials work at putting out a fire that had claimed the lives of 16-year-old, Shadisha Arnold, 16-year-old, Anna Carlos and 14-year-old, Elizabeth McKoy.  The girls were being housed at the Community Rehabilitation Department and were reportedly confined to a room after running away the day before.  It is an incident that left many members of the public outraged as the circumstances had indicated that the girls were on timeout and locked in a room.  Government officials had called a press conference two days later assuring the public that a thorough investigation would be conducted and led by former Director of Family Court, Margaret Nicholas.  Love News learnt last week that the investigation has concluded and that it might not render good optics for the institution.  Today, in an interview with the Chief Executive Officer for the Ministry of Human Development, Judith Alpuche, we asked for an update on the findings of the investigation.  According to Alpuche, while they had committed to sharing the report with the public they have been advised against it.

JUDITH ALPUCHE

Alpuche went on to explain that a coroner’s inquest was ordered by the Chief Justice, Kenneth Benjamin to pursue the matter criminally.

JUDITH ALPUCHE

Initial investigations into the fire had revealed that the fire began when one of the victims lit a pillow on fire.  There were several factors that contributed to the death of the three young ladies including problems locating the key to the room where they were locked up and also the absence of a proper search of their persons in which the lighter used to start the fire would have been found.