The struggle is real, for mom of murdered 15-year-old

MONTEGO BAY, St James — The mother of a murdered 15-year-old student of Holmwood Technical High School in Manchester is still struggling with the death of her eldest daughter.

“I am still unhappy,” said Latoya Reece, mother of Nastacia Turner.

Turner died earlier this year after sustaining injuries, reportedly at the hands of her cousin. Allegations are that a question of paternity led to the youngster being bullied by her father’s niece, along with Reece’s calls for intervention falling on deaf ears.

The 16-year-old girl accused of the crime was charged recently with manslaughter, confirmed Deputy Superintendent of Police Winston Milton, the commanding officer for Trelawny. Her first court date was last Monday.

However, Reece told the Jamaica Observer that she is still struggling with the loss of her daughter after her senseless killing in their Mendez Town community in Trelawny on Tuesday, March 14.

Reece further explained that though she is grateful that the accused girl has been brought before the court, she is saddened that her daughter, who she said was full of life, cannot be brought back.

“Mi nuh happy, I am still unhappy because I am still grieving. I feel better that I am going to get justice for my daughter but I am still not happy because this cannot bring her back,” she told the Sunday Observer.

During a previous interview with the Sunday Observer, Reece shared that she cannot forget the sight of her daughter lying in the road. Reece remembers the evening vividly, as her daughter came home from school complaining about being bullied by her cousin. The mother said that her daughter also complained about pain from cramps and she went to purchase painkillers from a nearby community shop.

Unlike other reports, Reece told the Sunday Observer that her daughter did not attempt to fight back, and she is left traumatised after seeing Turner’s head being slammed onto the road.

The mother and daughter duo had reportedly shared a close bond. Just days before her death, Reece said that Turner sent a heartwarming message to share her love and respect for her.

In the message, which was shared with the Sunday Observer, Turner told her mother that she was grateful to have her support.

“Love is a great gift that we should never take for granted. I am very lucky to have you mom and I appreciate how much you genuinely care. I never had to ask for your love, you gave it freely and without question,” Turner said.

She continued, “There are many people that are not so lucky. Thank you for never judging me, for always being by my side and for loving me every day.”

In addition to that, the youngster went on to thank her mother for showing her the importance of having good values and morals.

“Virtue is something you instilled in me. Its importance helps me every day of my life. Even if it didn’t seem like I was listening to everything you had to say and to what you taught me; I was and it made me become the better person that I am today. I live and love with honesty, respectfulness and integrity,” the 15-year-old said to her mother three days before her death.

“I know there is nothing you wouldn’t do for me,” the youngster also said.

Turner ended her message with “I LOVE YOU, MOM”, to which Reece responded, “I love you too, my firstborn”.

The grieving mother told the Sunday Observer that it is through that interaction with her daughter that she finds the strength to fight for justice. But the days are not getting easier, as Reece has two other daughters who are also struggling with the death of their big sister.

“They are not handling it well. We are all still grieving,” she said, before stating that her 14-year-old daughter is now attending counselling to help her through the grief process.

“She is still going to counselling. I had to bring her to counselling at the hospital and I still have to pay to get her counselling. Even Monday morning mi mother affi go bring her to counselling. Sometimes she just sits and looks out in space — with a blank face. Whenever others are crying, she does not cry at all,” Reece explained.

As for her extended family, Reece said that they, too, are still grappling with the youngster’s death. Turner is fondly remembered by her infectious laugh and her ambition of becoming a member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force after completing her studies.

Reece said that that was the source of an additional heartache which she deals with daily.

“Mi see people a get ready to pay for their children’s exams and I don’t have my daughter own to pay for,” she said, pointing out that Turner would now be preparing to sit Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate examinations next May.