Frustrated by the cries of a nine-month-old baby girl, a female relative reportedly fed the baby a deadly mixture of poison and milk in her bottle.
Hours later, baby Salileen was dead and the 30-year-old woman in police custody.
Shocked and saddened over Salileen’s death on Friday, relatives could not understand or forgive the woman’s actions when Guardian Media visited the home at Busy Corner, New Grant, Princes Town.
The incident occurred around 12.20 pm on Wednesday, while the woman was at the home with her 10-year-old son and the baby.
Police claim the woman confessed to them while at the Princes Town Health Facility, where the baby was taken in unresponsive around 3.15 pm.
According to the police report, the woman told officers the baby began to cry uncontrollably and she became frustrated and fed her Malathion insecticide using a syringe. She left the baby on a bed and shortly after, she found her unresponsive.
The baby’s aunt told Guardian Media that after she realised the baby was unresponsive, she performed CPR on her as they awaited the arrival of the ambulance.
Baby Salileen was taken to the health facility and then transferred to the San Fernando General Hospital, where she died around 6.30 pm.
Police seized a syringe, a baby bottle and a 250ml bottle with the markings Malathion at the home.
The baby’s grief-stricken step-grandmother Sharmela Deonarine, 42, recalled that she left the baby playing on a bed at her home on Wednesday and went out. However, minutes later, she received a phone call that the baby was gasping for breath. When she got to the hospital, Salileen was already dead.
Deonaraine could not understand or explain the actions of the suspect.
“Everybody is trying to find out the same thing. I even ask her if she fed-up. She keep bawling she fed-up and she frustrated but that little baby don’t even cry. That child always happy, she laughing. She was well loved, she was kept real good at my home. My children, everybody used to treat she real real good.”
She said Salileen only began living with her three weeks ago, after she (baby) was discharged from the hospital.
“The baby was looking pale and the baby was not acting like a normal baby. She was more like a premature baby. I don’t know, the baby was really stiff and stuff like that, so I started to take care of the baby and rub the baby and child started to do real nice, healthy, she was happy. The child gain weight,” she added.
The step-grandmother said when she left home on Wednesday, the suspect, who was at home with her (suspect’s) 10-year-old son, was “normal.”
“I really don’t know. I really don’ know what make she do something like that but it really really hurting me. It bothering me, is a nine-months child and that is an innocent child. She not supposed to be dying like that,” she said.
Despite their financial woes, Deonarine, a part-time domestic worker, said she always made sure the baby had pampers, milk and cereal. She said she cannot forgive the suspect.
Meanwhile, an expert is reminding the public that postpartum depression is very serious and could culminate in death.
Clinical psychologist Victoria Siewnarine-Geelalsingh explained that a mother could experience “baby blues” within the first two weeks of giving birth, where they develop mood swings, crying spells and anxiety.
But she said postpartum depression sets in six weeks after birth and it typically lasts for six months.