Ten years after 14-year-old Kalifa Downes went missing, the man responsible for killing her and dumping her body has pleaded guilty.
But even before Ryan Antonio Oneal Bullen owned up in the High Court Thursday to the manslaughter of the Lower Burney, St Michael girl, the court heard, he had admitted to police that he had raped the teen before fatally stabbing her.
Bullen’s guilty plea came just over three years after he was arrested and charged in connection with Downes’ death.
Kalifa’s father, Darnley Alleyne, had reported the teen missing on April 18, 2007. He told lawmen at the time that he had last seen her around 10 p.m. five days earlier.
Alleyne explained that it was not unusual for his daughter to leave home for a few days, as she had spent time at her boyfriend’s residence on previous occasions.
The father’s pronouncements led police to the home of the boyfriend, Damien Delpleshe, but he told police that he had not seen Kalifa for the same period.
Principal Crown Counsel Elwood Watts told the court presided over by Madam Justice Jacqueline Cornelius that the teen’s body was found two days after she was reported missing, in the Pine pasture near Pine Hill Dairy.
The police investigation into her death continued, but the case went cold and was unsolved for six years.
Lawmen finally cracked the case by following leads on a mobile phone sim card that had been taken from the dead girl’s cellular phone. Their investigations led them to Bullen who was found to be using the sim card.
The killer, then 35, was taken into custody on November 13, 2013 and he told lawmen he was walking through a track behind the Pine area when he met the girl. Bullen said he stopped and asked her a question and they began talking. In his statement to investigators Bullen also admitted that he had unprotected sex with the teenager.
“I . . . asked her for sex, she say ‘no’. Then I pull my knife and grab she by she hand . . . and I pull her towards the bushy area . . . pull down she pants and had sex with her,” he said.
In the statement read by the Crown’s representative, Bullen also revealed that it was when he snatched Downes’ mobile phone that she used the opportunity to attack him.
“I lash out at her with de hand that had de knife . . . I see she stop and fall to the ground. I went and check . . . and realized she was not moving,” he told police.
Bullen said when he noticed the girl was dead, he dragged her to another area and left the body. He then took the sim card out of her phone and threw away the phone in a bushy area on the opposite side.
The sim was inserted in other phones which Bullen used.
The prosecutor confirmed that the autopsy on Downes’ decomposing body showed that she had died from injuries to the heart, caused by a sharp instrument.
The court heard today that this crime was not Bullen’s first brush with the law. His conviction card showed that he had committed rape, theft, robbery, assault and criminal damage in the past.
Bullen, who is represented by attorney-at-law Marlon Gordon, returns to court on March 2 for sentencing.
Justice Cornelius ordered a report on his time in prison and a pre-sentencing report for that date.