— with reporting by Jesse Ramdeo
An autopsy on two-year-old Kymani Francis has concluded that the child drowned.
The autopsy was done at the Forensic Science Centre in St James by Dr Parthasarathi Pramanik yesterday.
The findings also indicated that the boy’s body bore no marks of violence. However, the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) is not ruling out the possibility of foul play as investigations continue.
No time of death was given but Dr Pramanik indicated that mud and soil were discovered in the inner lining of the boy’s stomach.
Kymani’s relatives did not share their feelings about the findings with the media.
Speaking on the TV6 News last night, head of the Homicide Bureau, Senior Superintendent Rishi Singh, said additional investigations will be done to rule out any foul play.
“What happens in a scenario like this, because you find that there is water and mud in the stomach, you also want to make a comparison with what you find in the environment and what is found in his stomach to ensure that they are matching just to eliminate the possibility of the movement from one place to that other location where he was found,” Singh said.
He said police will also wait on further information before they can make a determination on whether charges of negligence can be brought against those who saw the child walking along the road.
“We would have to wait until all the facts come to us. We cannot rule it out. If a neighbour is seeing a risk to a child, whether or not that neighbour has a duty of care, generally the English law on the matter is that a person isn’t held to a standard of failing to act to prevent something unless there is an established duty of care.
“It might be morally wrong but whether it is legally wrong, we would have to establish a duty of care. Parents have it, contracted persons have it, certain statutory bodies have it, but whether neighbours generally have it is something the circumstances might have to tell us a little more on in terms of voluntary assumption of responsibilities at the time,” he said.
Singh added that with regards to a parent being charged with neglect, that too will have to be further investigated.
“In the scenario of parents falling short, you do have an established duty of care. However, what you may have a difficulty in establishing is a foreseeability of the exact circumstances that would have led to the death and that’s why those inquiries are a bit more prolonged. That’s because sometimes, based on the circumstances, there may be more difficulty in proving an established duty of care,” Singh said.
Guardian Media revisited the community yesterday and retraced the path Kymani might have taken, walking barefooted on a mile-long trek on an oil sand road to where his body was found.
With similar sweltering conditions to that of Monday, this reporter experienced how painful it was to make the journey, as the heat was scorching my feet.
Head of the search team Hard Grounds Get Soft, Ren Gopiesingh, had said if the toddler made the entire journey, it would have taken him no less than 20 minutes.
Extensive ground, aerial and water searches were conducted by rescue groups, army officials, police officers, villagers and volunteers from the time Kymani was reported missing up until his discovery on Tuesday around 11 am in the Guapo River.
The boy was found face down in the watercourse with blood in his nose and rescue members stated they were baffled, since the exact location he was discovered in was combed at least three times.
Guardian Media was informed that up to yesterday, Homicide detectives and members of the Hunters’ Search and Rescue team led by Valence Rambharat searched the area for more clues.
On Thursday, an outpatient of a psychiatric clinic turned up at the Point Fortin Police Station and said he killed Kymani. He remains in police custody.
During the visit to the community yesterday, residents did not share their views on how the boy would have died.
Earlier in the week, however, irate villagers verbally lashed out at a neighbour who claimed she saw Kymani wander away from his home and tried to retrieve the toddler but was unsuccessful.
Due to the constant harassment, the woman left the area. A date for the boy’s funeral is yet to be determined.
Social media commentators surmised yesterday that despite the results, things “seemed amiss” and there were calls for another autopsy to be conducted.
On Monday, it was reported that the boy wandered out of his Techier Village home and his mother Kimberly Charles only become aware of his disappearance after the police responded to a call from a neighbour that a child was seen in the road.
— with reporting by Jesse Ramdeo