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One in court, one buried
Omadavee Lavia shed tears for both her son and her daughter yesterday as she had earlier learnt one would be in court today for the death of the other. Murchannah Lavia, 14, was killed last Wednesday, allegedly at the hands of her older brother, who police said was playing with an illegal gun, while she sat reading a book at their home at Stoer Drive Extension, Petit Valley.
During Murchannah’s funeral yesterday, pastor of the Petit Valley Pentecostal Church, Fabian Sandiford, chided the police for telephoning Lavia on the day of her daughter’s funeral to tell her that her son was to be charged with manslaughter. The funeral began shortly after 1 pm with Murchannah’s father, Anthony, wheeled her pink casket to the front of the church. Mourners flocked to the church, a few minutes walk from where Murchannah lived, filling it beyond capacity, some having no choice but to stand outside.
Inside the church men and women, both young and old, wept for the child, who was remembered as brilliant, straightforward, determined and humble. One of Murchannah’s sisters, Menisha, called on the family to grow closer together and to forgive but never forget. She wept as she called the boy’s name and said he would now be the baby of the family. She added that the family had forgiven him and it was time that he forgave himself and got closer to God.
Her brothers—Andre, Andell and Anthony—all spoke of their love for their younger sister. Andell encouraged mourners to show interest in the youths, particularly those between the ages of 12 and 17, as those were the age groups targeted by criminal elements. He also called on those in authority to pay attention to those living in impoverished areas. He added that living without his sister was like having a face without a nose and would be hard.
Among the mourners was MP for the area Dr Amery Browne who told the parents the nation was mourning with them. In his sermon Sandiford said the family had lost not one but two children, adding he was godfather to both of them and sent a message to Murchannah’s brother that he was not all responsible. Sandiford added that too many people had been keeping quiet concerning ills in society and the time had come to speak out.
He encouraged all to let Murchannah’s life be a reminder that life was short and they should turn their lives over to God while they had the chance. He added that for Murchannah’s killer to live, she had to die and in the end there might be a positive outcome from all that had happened. Murchannah’s father had earlier said he hoped something positive would come out of all the attention that his grieving family was now receiving.