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Nov 16, 2016

Empress Hamilton Dies, Family Plunged Into Grief Again

It’s a sad week when the loss of innocent children in a vicious crime wave continues to shatter families. The Hamiltons of south side Belize City have lost a third family member in a month. For Melissa Hamilton, it is her second child to perish following an arson at a house on Aloe Vera Street on the night of October fourth.  This morning, she received the devastating news that her daughter Empress, despite a positive outlook for recovery, had lost her battle for life at the Shriner’s Hospital in Galveston, Texas. A few days ago, Empress’ younger brother, Ian, died from severe burns sustained in the fire that consumed the house.  On the night of the arson, Melissa’s eleven year old nephew, Aaron Gabourel, perished instantly. The death of her children is profoundly painful for Melissa, crushing and scarring her for life, even as she struggles to understand the unforgivable. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports. 


Empress Hamilton

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Another heartbreaking moment for the Hamilton family as they mourn the loss of one more relative.  It’s the third consecutive tragedy they’ve had to bear over the past six weeks, lending credence to a belief that death does indeed come in threes.  Melissa Hamilton, mother of four-year-old Ian Sambula and eight-year-old Empress Hamilton, fell unconscious and has to be carried down a flight of stairs by her loved ones.  The reality of having lost both of her children, as well as an eleven-year-old nephew, to a deadly house fire a little over a month ago is too much to suffer.  Her common-law-husband is grief-stricken and emotionally defeated, yet somehow maintains his composure.


Ian Sambula

Ian Sambula, Father of Deceased Fire Victims

“I noh know how I feel B, fu real; fi lost two ah dehn, you know, and like nothing noh di get done.  Like di police dehn noh di try do nothing too, you know.  I woulda really wahn like, you know, I woulda really wahn like just find out weh really di go ahn mein.”


On the evening of October fourth, siblings Ian Junior and Empress, along with their cousin Aaron Gabourel, were seated inside the living room of their wooden home on Aloe Vera Street.  The kids were all watching television when an unnamed individual entered the residence, doused it with fuel and lit a flame.


Melissa Hamilton

Melissa Hamilton, Mother of Deceased Fire Victims

“My baby dehn mi innocent.  We neva mi di do nobody nothing, we just gaan watch TV and a monsta come from nowhere and just through gas and light ih match.  Fu what?  I noh know.  I noh know weh wahn four-year-old and wah eight-year-old could do ahn and wah eleven-year-old.  I noh know because I noh know ahn and I noh do ahn nothing.”


The infant and his older sister, like their many relatives gathered here at the family home on Periwinkle street, would have been front and center of a friendly game of marble, a hobby seemingly enjoyed by all the kids in the yard.  Their grandfather, patriarch of the Hamiltons, is baffled by the absolute lack of humanity in such a senseless act of murder.


Wilfred Hamilton Sr.

Wilfred Hamilton Sr., Grandfather of Deceased Fire Victims

“How could a person just create ih mind fu walk eena wah house weh paat sohn young children di watch TV, long wid ih mada and ih bredda and di fada ah di eleven-year-old Aaron Gabourel weh get bun up, di first one weh died.  I wahn ask da person if ih have wahn heart, if ih have wahn soul.  Weh ih mi di think ‘bout?”


It’s a question that does not seem to have a direct answer, since whoever committed this dastardly act of cowardice remains on the lam.  Elder sister Caroline Hamilton is inconsolable and joins her sister in mourning.  Hers was the first child to perish in the fire.


Caroline Hamilton

Caroline Hamilton, Mother of Deceased Fire Victim

“I watch pan my sista di grieve ova ih two kids dehn and all I could do da just pray and ask God fi help my lee sista because she lost wah lot and my lee sista, whatever she mi haffi do fi raise ih kids dehn and my Aaron, we struggle hard, we two sistas.  We noh disturb nobody, we noh fass wid nobody.”


That alleged arsonist has brought great sorrow to this family.  Upbeat that they were rebounding positively from a previous incident which resulted in their home also being torched, this recent bout of misfortune has virtually crushed them.


Melissa Hamilton

“I feel lost, confused, hurt, broken up.  My heart feel bruk eena so much piece.  So many pieces.”


Despite a favorable prognosis several days ago, eight-year-old Empress Hamilton has also succumbed to injuries caused by third degree burns which covered almost ninety percent of her body.  Her mother is grateful to Shriners for all the effort that went into trying to save her children.


Melissa Hamilton

“Galveston is the best hospital eena di world.  Good doctors, good nurses.  They did their best for my kids, like they were their own.  They tried every medication that they know about, every treatment that they know about.  Everything that they could possibly do they did.”


Sadly, their utmost best wasn’t enough.  In answer to the father’s request for an update into the criminal investigation, Assistant Commissioner of Police Chester Williams admits that it’s been a slow process.


Chester Williams

ACP Chester Williams, Eastern Division South

“Our sympathy goes out to the family.  We could only imagine what they are going through to have lost three kids over one incident and I know that as a family they are clamoring for answers from the police and I want to assure them that we are doing what we can to ensure that we can give them the answers that they want, as well as to be sure that justice is served at the end of the day.  But I also want to say to them that it is something that we can just get up one morning and do.  Investigation is a process.  We have several information that we have to work with and we are currently putting the file together.  We are still awaiting the report from the fire expert from the fire department.”


That report, as well as other pieces of evidence will be collated and presented to the Director of Public Prosecutions for further instructions.  Until then, the arsonist-turned-elusive-killer is still on the loose. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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