The girl’s body was found stuffed in a barrel and covered with clothing in one of the bedrooms of her Maloney home yesterday afternoon.
The gruesome discovery created more questions than answers for police and residents of the area, who questioned how the child’s body could have been hidden in the apartment for so many days without any of her family members becoming aware.
Scores of Maloney Gardens residents, who lined the street, erupted in anger and called for justice.
Some threatened vengeance as word spread that Keyana’s body had been found.
They promised to carry out protest action if the person responsible for killing the child was not arrested and prosecuted.
“Bring him here. Let him go here and we will deal with him in the right way. Allyuh feel Laventille people bad? Bring him here and let him go,” they shouted.
Nearby, a group of young children stood singing gospel songs.
It was the scent of decomposing flesh that alerted the girl’s mother, Simone Williams, 27, to the terrible possibility that her eldest daughter’s body may have been inside her Building Four apartment all along, said police.
She had been missing since Monday evening, after returning home from St Barbara’s Shouter Baptist Primary School, where she was a second-year pupil.
It was shortly after 3 p.m. yesterday that Williams told officers of the Maloney Police Post that there was a stench in her apartment.
When they arrived at the apartment, officers carried out a search and found the girl’s partially-decomposed body in the barrel.
Head of the Homicide Bureau of Investigations ACP Wayne Dick told the Express Keyana’s autopsy will be performed this morning at the Forensic Science Centre, Federation Park, St James.
Williams was escorted out of the area to an unknown location by police shortly after the discovery was made.
Several other people were taken into custody for questioning, Dick confirmed.
The child’s father, Kevon Cumberbatch, had to be consoled by police officers at the scene, as he occasionally broke down in tears.
He spoke briefly to reporters, asking who was going to fill the space left in his heart which had been reserved for his daughter.
“I can’t say much more, I will speak with you tomorrow,” he said.
Crime scene detectives spent more than four hours inside the apartment searching for clues and processing the scene.
And when Keyana’s body was eventually removed at 7.27 p.m., the shouts of the residents grew louder.
Expletives and threats were directed at the person who they believe killed the child.
A male relative of the girl has been in police custody since Tuesday afternoon.
He was arrested after residents reported to police that he was the last person to be seen with the girl prior to her disappearance.
Keyana’s mother reported to police that her daughter would usually go to her grandmother’s apartment across the roadway every evening after returning home from school.
However, on Monday, she did not show up.
The suspect told police he had walked the girl to the building where her grandmother’s apartment was located and saw her enter the building, investigators said.
Shortly after she was reported missing, police visited the area with sniffer dogs in an attempt to find the child.
The apartment and the surrounding areas were searched, but police did not find the child.
This led to further questions being asked by residents yesterday.
“How the police search the apartment with dogs and could not find this child?” they asked.
Questioned about this, Dick said it was difficult to say if the body had been at that location since Monday or if it had been placed there sometime later.
“What we do know is that she went missing on Monday. What we do know is that she was found today. What we also know is that this is a very busy area. It’s an area that almost never sleeps. What we also know is that several family members had free and consistent access to this apartment, so it is difficult to suggest that the body may have been placed there after,” said Dick.
Dick said he was sympathetic towards the residents and also the child’s family over their loss.
However, he urged the residents to operate within the law and allow homicide detectives to carry out their investigations.
“I am aware of the pain of the residents. They hurl statements in terms of revenge, in terms of getting back at whoever may be responsible. I say to them, allow the process to take place. Homicide is involved, we are going to see this through, we are going to deal with it in a very professional way.
“Allow us to conduct a thorough investigation. There is a God. There is a God and this is a child and the Homicide Bureau does not work without these two things in mind. This is a child and there is a God, so we can well understand why members of the community are so enraged, because she’s a child, but we have faith in God,” he said.
He added that detectives would be working around the clock to ensure the person responsible for murdering the girl was arrested and prosecuted.
“Like I said, there is a God, so I am confident that this crime will soon be solved,” said Dick.
Keyana’s killing brought the murder toll for the year to date to 353, according to an Express count.
It was the second time in little over a week that a child has been found dead.
Last Wednesday, police investigating the disappearance of one-year-old Jacob Munroe from his Maracas Valley, St Joseph home found the baby’s body in a cesspit in the yard of the family residence.