Mahdia Fire: Alleged teen arsonist to face 19 murder charges
The 19 victims of the tragic fire at Mahdia
The 19 victims of the tragic fire at Mahdia

THE Guyana Police Force recently obtained legal advice to pursue charges against the 15-year-old girl who is accused of setting fire to the female dormitory at Mahdia Secondary School, which left 19 children dead.

This was confirmed by Head of the Criminal Investigations Department, Assistant Police Commissioner Wendell Blanhum, when this publication contacted him on Sunday.
The teen will be charged with 19 counts of murder and is expected to appear before a magistrate sometime this week.

It is alleged that during the course or furtherance of an arson committed on May 21, she murdered Tracil Thomas, Lisa Roberts, Delecia Edwards, Lorita Williams, Natalie Bellarmine, Arriana Edwards, Cleoma Simon, Subrina John, Martha Dandrade, Loreen Evans, Belnisa Evans, Mary Dandrade, Omerfia Edwin, Nickleen Robinson, Sherena Daniels, Eulander Carter, Andrea Roberts, Bibi Jeffrey and Adanye Jerome.

The Guyana Chronicle had previously reported that the police disclosed that the teen was identified as a suspect after investigators were told that she set the fire after her cellular phone was taken away by the dorm mother and a teacher.

At the time of the fire, there were 57 female students in the dormitory, a one-flat concrete building measuring about 100 feet by 40 feet, with several windows, all grilled, and five doors.
According to the reports reaching this publication, fire/smoke was first spotted in the bathroom area. Unfortunately, it quickly engulfed the entire building, trapping many of the students and a five-year-old boy. Several of the students managed to escape with minor burns and injuries.

Those who were pulled from the burning building were rushed to the Mahdia District Hospital where five of the them were pronounced dead.

After the fire was extinguished, 14 burnt bodies were found.

Samples which were sent to the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York for DNA analyses, confirmed the identifies of the dead children.

Last week, Government Pathologist Dr Nehaul Singh performed post-mortem examinations with dissections on six of the bodies: Nicholeen Robinson, Shorlin Bellarmine, Eulanda Carter, Subrina John, Martha D’ Andrade and Adonijah Jerome, at the Mahdia District Hospital’s mortuary and the cause of death for each of them was given as smoke inhalation and burns.
A total of 29 female students were injured and were promptly assessed and treated. Several were air-dashed to Georgetown for further medical attention.

On Saturday, a 13-year-old girl, who was one of the two listed as critically injured, was transported to New York for urgent specialised care.

Several of the students were interviewed in the presence of a probation officer, and statements were taken.


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