Newsmaker of the Week: Nation gripped by evil murder of 9-y-o girl Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

This week’s featured development as Newsmaker of the Week just ended is the callous and brutal murder of nine-year-old Nikita Noel, who was found dead in bushes in her Hanover community on Wednesday night after she did not return home from school.

Nikita, who was fondly called ‘Joanna’ of ‘JoJo’, was to celebrate her 10th birthday on March 1.

It has been theorised that she was also raped.

A 42-year-old man who was held as a suspect relative to the murder and is believed to have been in an on-and-off relationship with Nikita’s mother, is in protective custody, as there are enraged residents who have expressed the desire to effect vigilante justice.

The monstrous murder has enraged the nation overall, with Prime Minister Andrew Holness leading the condemnations of the brutal end to the life of a little girl who was described by those who knew her as being generally polite.

Nikita left home in Kew district for school at Esher Primary School at approximately 7am on Wednesday.

The school’s Principal, Anthonette Wright, confirmed to the media that Nikita, a fourth grader, was picked up by her regular taxi driver and dropped off near the gate to her home that afternoon.

But the little girl did not arrive home at her usual time, raising the suspicion of her mother, Nordia Edwards, who told reporters that her daughter was expected home by 4:30 pm on that day.

Her mother reported her missing and, during a search in the community, her body was found in bushes just minutes away from her home.

The little girl’s dog, which always met her along the way as she walked home, was also found in bushes with the feet bound together. It appeared not to have been harmed.

The suspect, who is reportedly known to the girl’s family, was subsequently detained.

On Thursday, a clearly heartbroken Edwards described her daughter as being jovial.

“It’s dreadful. It hurt,” Edwards said of her daughter’s murder.

“She (Nikita) was very jovial, not a person who give trouble. When mi sen har gah school, she guh school and she come straight home.

“She nuh stop a people place nor nutten, and dis one, it hurt cause it jus close to home. Mi weak. Mi weak,” Edwards lamented.

Principal Wright said little Nikita was a model student.

“Nikita is a lover of life, and quite polite. She was a team player and a leader,” said the school administrator.

Wright told reporters that the country must embark on a programme to sensitise persons about individuals who are predators and target children for their own self-gratification.

“This sensitisation programme will make persons more aware that there are child predators on the loose in our country, and for persons to take the necessary steps to reduce the number of incidents of this nature,” she said.

She also urged parents not to leave their children unsupervised.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness

Prime Minister Andrew Holness, in reacting to the horrific attack on one of the nation’s children, said the crime “is a shock to our collective conscience and sense of community and can only be described as evil.”

In a release on Thursday, Holness offered his condolence and support to the young girl’s family as they try to make sense of her vicious murder.

“My heart goes out to Nikita’s family and loved ones, and I am sure the entire Jamaica is praying for the family at this very sad time,” he said.

Holness continued by saying that the society must never become numb to the increasing barbarity of violent acts.

“The society must clearly define and defend the moral line by speaking out against and unequivocally condemning these violent acts and supporting measures that will bring the perpetrators to justice.

“For this reason, Government is urgently amending the Offenses Against the Person Act to provide stiffer penalties for those who terrorise and prey upon our people, particularly vulnerable and innocent children.

“Such barbaric criminals must be in no doubt that the country wants them separated from the society,” he added.

Fayval Williams

Minister of Education and Youth, Fayval Williams, also condemned the “callous” criminal attack and murder, expressing “deep sadness” at the death of the child.

“This brutal assault and murder of little Nikita is a sad reflection of the callous barbarity that characterises elements in our society. Every child should be protected by the society as a whole. We must all be on guard to protect our children as they travel the island’s roads,” stated Williams.

She said the ministry had reached out through its regional office to offer counselling services to Nikita’s immediate family and school community.

Many users of social media also joined in condemning the brutal act.

On Twitter, State Minister in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn, who also commented on the killing, said she was weeping for the nation’s children.

Juliet Cuthbert Flynn

“Men who rape our girls under 16 and impregnate should be sought/arrested/placed on sex offender registry for all to see,” she tweeted.

Senator Natalie Campbell-Rodriques tweeted: “Raping then strangling to death a nine-year-old child, Nikita Noel, requires a cold heart filled with hatred.

“Those acts cannot come from a good and healthy place.

“As a mother, I ache for the mother of this victim and wish her nothing short of strength and love,” the senator stated.

On Facebook, a woman wrote that the situation reminded her of a similar experience in which she could have also been killed.

“Poor baby girl. Every time I hear someone’s trauma, I remember the same thing happened to me 27 years ago. It cannot be forgotten, I could have been killed, but I give God thanks for life,” she wrote.

“Sleep in Jesus’ arms sweetheart. I long for your return Jesus. Sleep on baby, we will see you again when Jesus returns,” she added.

Said Facebook user Cleon Sergeant: “It is indeed a sad state of affairs in this country when a man can be so callous to a little girl who is innocent in any… RIP. Sad.”

Commented Maxine Townsend: “Nice little girl. Prayers for her family and school friends”.