Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 4th 2013 Contents A6
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Jabari Hernandez Snr, the father
of three-year-old Jabari Hernandez,
had already priced a bicycle for his
son and was planning to buy one
for him and his older brother. That
plan has now turned into funeral
plan as Hernandez died on Saturday
under questionable circumstances.
A male relative, who identified him-
self only as "Papa", said in a telephone
interview yesterday Hernandez fell
around November 14 or 15 and since
then he had been in and out of the
hospital. His last hospital trip was on
Saturday when Hernandez was taken
to the Sangre Grande District Hospital
Jabari died and a preliminary autop-
sy conducted on Monday suggested
he was murdered.
"Papa" said Jabari was a "real lov-
ing child" who everyone wanted to
have around them. "He was a beau-
tiful little child," he added.
Contacted by telephone yesterday
the boy s father said there is no
Christmas for him. He added he was
looking forward to having his son for
the Christmas season. Hernandez said
he used to have full custody of his
son but his work schedule forced him
to allow Jabari to stay at his mother s
house in Cumuto. A decision, he said,
he was now regretting.
He said his son was a very loving
child who everyone liked because "he
cute." He said his son was an angel,
adding he could not talk much as the
matter was being investigated.
A preliminary autopsy on Monday
by forensic pathologist Dr Hughvon
des Vignes at the Forensic Science
Centre, St James, revealed the three-
year-old died as a result of blunt force
trauma to his body.
The report said Jabari suffered
severe injuries to his abdomen, result-
ing in severe internal trauma. It stated
that Jabari suffered trauma in the
stomach, tear on the liver, tear on the
attachment tissue to the intestine
(mesentery) which caused the peri-
tonitis that triggered the vomiting.
It added: "An X-ray of the child
was done yesterday which showed
there were no old wound to the child s
bones. Further testing showed the
official cause of death was inflam-
mation in the stomach (peritonitis)
which may have been caused by the
child being repeatedly hit in the stom-
"The child also suffered multiple
traumatic injuries to the head incon-
sistent with a fall. The child was dehy-
drated and under-nourished. At three
years the child is supposed to be 95
centimetres, he was 90. His weight
is supposed to be at least 14 kilograms
(31 lbs). He was weighing only 11.5
Police said they were treating the
child s death as a homicide.
KALIFA SARAH CLYNE
Visitors to the Emperor Valley Zoo,
Port-of-Spain, will have the oppor-
tunity to see T&T s first pair of giraffes
from around 9.30 am today says pres-
ident of the Zoological Society Gupte
The giraffes, which were initially
scheduled to arrive in June, started a
road trip from Houston, Texas, on Friday
from their previous home at a nature
park in Dallas.
"We expect the giraffes to reach to
Miami by tonight and they are sched-
uled to be on a flight by 3 am, which
will be in T&T by 7.30 am," Lutchmedial
Once at Piarco Airport, the giraffes
will go through customs after being
checked by a vet. Once released by cus-
toms the animals, which are approx-
imately eight feet tall, will be taken to
The giraffes, which are about eight
months old, will not be the only animals
coming to T&T today but they have a
pair of warthogs as travelling compan-
"The public will be able to see the
animals from about ten to 15 feet away.
The plan is to get them in their own
enclosure to allow members of the pub-
lic to feed the animals and interact with
them in other ways," Lutchmedial said.
The zoo was originally supposed to
receive a male and a female giraffe, as
part of a breeding programme but
females are unavailable so it is accepting
They will be put in a temporary
enclosure for the next three weeks while
the zoo finishes building its African
exhibit, which will also include impalas,
warthogs, a family of chimpanzees, a
pair of zebras, mandrills and African
The zebras are expected to arrive in
the middle of next year and the zoo is
also expecting to receive a pair of Bengal
tigers for its Asian exhibit next month.
Asked about plans for a zoo in Cen-
tral Trinidad, Lutchmedial said those
plans were not in the hands of the Zoo-
"When Cabinet made the recom-
mendation, it was to upgrade the cur-
rent zoo and build a zoo in central
Trinidad but nothing has come of it,"
Prisons Commissioner Martin
Martinez has guaranteed the safety
of murder accused Allan Thomas,
who has been charged with killing his
16-month-old son, Jacob Munroe.
Martinez gave the assurance in a
telephone interview yesterday after-
noon, hours after Thomas, 27, of Santa
Rita Trace, Lluengo Village, Maracas/St
Joseph, was remanded into custody
after appearing in court charged with
the toddler s murder.
"I have a duty of care to all prisoners.
I will see to it that he is safe and pro-
tected from harm," Martinez said.
During his appearance before Senior
Magistrate Cheryl Ann Blake in the
Tunapuna First Court, Thomas s attor-
ney Fareed Ali raised concerns over his
client s safety in remand. Ali suggested
Thomas should be isolated from the
He said Thomas had told him while
in police custody, he was repeatedly
harassed by fellow detainees, who were
being kept alongside him in the holding
cells of the station.
Ali said: "It is common knowledge
that persons who are brought under
these allegations are subject to some
sort of affront."
He said while he understood that a
magistrate did not have the authority
to instruct the Prison Service on how
to house prisoners, he still wanted the
issue to be placed in the court s records.
Blake agreed, saying: "You can make
representations to the prison on his
Asked about Ali s request for his
client to be kept in isolation, Martinez
said that was impossible.
"That cannot happen. The prison is
overcrowded. That is why we have been
asking for a new remand facility," Mar-
Thomas appeared in court shortly
before 11 am yesterday to answer the
charges. Dressed in a green T-shirt
and pinstripe pants, he stood silently
in the prisoner enclosure as the
charges were being read to him. His
left wrist was bandaged.
He was charged with murdering
Munroe at his home on a date unknown
between November 18 and 23 and was
also charged with attempting to com-
mit suicide on November 19.
On November 18, a relative contacted
St Joseph police, saying the child had
been kidnapped from the family s home.
A day later, police searched the home,
where they found the child s body, in
a cesspit. A post-mortem showed Jacob
had died from massive head injuries.
During yesterday s hearing, Ali
applied to have his client sent to the
St Ann s Psychiatric Hospital for two
weeks to undergo a mental-health eval-
He suggested that from the attempt-
ed suicide charge, it could be inferred
that his client had a mental health issue
which would be exacerbated if he was
remanded to prison.
He said Thomas should be sent to
the hospital for the evaluation and if
he was cleared, he could then be sent
to Remand Yard.
Blake dismissed the application after
police prosecutors intervened to tell the
court a psychiatric test had been done
on Thomas while he was in hospital
They said a report would be com-
pleted later this week and would be
presented to the court and to Ali during
Thomas next court appearance.
Thomas will reappear in court on
No prison isolation for man
accused of child's murder
Two giraffes coming today
Cops probe death
of another child
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