An autopsy on the body of two-year-old Aaliyah Johnson yesterday showed she was beaten to death. However, forensic pathologist Dr Valerie Alexandrov found no evidence of sexual abuse as was indicated in the initial medical report. Alexandrov said while his findings showed no lacerations to the child's genitals, he had taken samples of secretions found on the child's body for testing to determine whether it was blood or faeces.
He said even though the medical report indicated that she was bleeding from the genital area when she was taken to the Siparia District Health Facility, doctors may have misinterpreted the cause. Aaliyah, who lived with her mother at Maria David Trace, San Francique, was pronounced dead on arrival at the health facility on Sunday night, after relatives claimed she fell down a flight of stairs.
However, after the autopsy Alexandrov said the injuries the child sustained were not consistent with a fall. He said she suffered blunt-force trauma to the abdomen, which ruptured her liver. Up to yesterday investigators were completing reports which will be forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions later today.
An 18-year-old woman and a 23-year-old man who were arrested after the child's death remained in custody as police await instructions on how to proceed. Alexandrov said he had initially postponed the autopsy because there were 14 bodies at the centre on Tuesday and he wanted to pay special attention to the Aaliyah case.
According to his findings, the child was struck twice in the abdomen with what he believed was a fist. He said the blows ruptured the child's liver, causing internal injuries which resulted in one litre or 25 per cent blood loss. The pathologist said the child's hymen was intact. However, there were secretions around the anus.
"This child was full of blood," he said. He concluded: "So the bottom line is that under no circumstances was this type of injuries sustained through a fall. The child was only two years and nine months old and she lost one litre of blood which is equivalent to 25 per cent of the blood in her body, which for a child of this age is non-survivable or life-incompatible."
Homicide investigators said preliminary inquiries suggested Aaliyah had been a victim of continual physical abuse at the hands of relatives. Interviews with the detained woman's relatives indicated she had only moved in with the man on Carnival Monday.
A female relative told investigators that the child fell while the male suspect was cleaning her. Relatives of both the man and woman have since come out in their defence.