PORT OF SPAIN –– The decomposing body of a three-month-old baby was found clutched in the arms of her dead mother on a bed on Wednesday.
Baby Sidney and her mother Anika Gabriel were discovered by Sidney’s father, Wayne Phillander.
He said it was a foul scent and the sound of buzzing flies that led him to the gruesome find.
Phillander said he had contacted Gabriel and told her that he wanted to spend the Eid-ul-Fitr holiday with his daughter.
He said he went to the house at Ralph Narine Trace, South Oropouche around 9 a.m. Philander said the door was closed and he thought Gabriel may have gone by a friend.
But he said there was a stench and “I was hearing flies in the house and I was wondering how flies get inside. I couldn’t get in the house as I have no key. I went by a louvres which was partially open at the back.
“I put a brick and stand on it and pull back the curtain and I see she [Anika] swell big. . . . I didn’t see the baby . . . I start to bawl. I could ah fall down and died . . . Nowhere I was thinking in my mind something like this . . . I don’t know why she did this.”
Phillander said he made a report to the police who came to the small, wooden structure. The two bodies were removed.
Gabriel, 30, was lying on her side, her arm was over her baby, Phillander said police told him.
There was no forced entry into the house and officers, so far, believe it may be case of murder, suicide.
Phillnader said, “I loved my daughter . . . It was better that she come and tell me, come and take the child. I used to take care of my child. She had clothes until she reach a year.”
Gabriel has six other children who are between the ages of 15 and eight-years-old. They live with relatives, the Express was told.
Phillander 42, a labourer at the Siparia Regional Corporation, has a son and two grandchildren. He described Gabriel as a quiet person who kept to herself but whom he said had a hot temper.
“She would do things and then think about it.”
Phillander said that during her pregnancy Gabriel “used to beg me to kill that child. She took a cutlass and tell me to kill that child in she belly or she will kill me.”
He said however after the baby was born, Gabriel used to take good care of Sidney and never spoke of hurting their daughter.
Three weeks ago the couple who had an on an off relationship over the last five to eight years, had an altercation which led to Phillander being arrested and charged for assaulting Gabriel. He was granted bail. The matter next comes up for hearing on September 26.
Since then Phillander had not seen his daughter as the Justice of the Peace at the hearing of the matter, told him to have no interaction with Gabriel.
Phillander said he would however send milk and diapers for his daughter through his brother.
He claimed Gabriel had later apologized for taking him to court and said she wanted to discontinue with the matter.
“The last time I spoke to her [Gabriel] was [over the phone] on Thursday. She wanted a $10 phone card and I sent it for her.”
Neighbours also said Tuesday that they had not noticed Gabriel around over the last few days.
Gabriel had been living in the wooden structure which Phillander said he assisted in constructing in Oropouche. There is no electricity or running water.
Police officers are continuing their investigations into Gabriel’s death.
An autopsy was expected to be done Wednesday.
It was last August that the decomposing body of Gabriel’s mother Jenelle Gabriel was found at a house at Agard Road, Point Fortin.
An autopsy found she died from natural causes.