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Sep 19, 2006

Church service remembers five slain children

Story PictureBack in May this station announced a reward of a hundred thousand dollars for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the abduction and murder of five Belize City girls beginning in 1998. And while the killers have yet to be caught, the victims have not been forgotten.

Jacqueline Godwin, Reporting
It?s been over seven years since the murders of Sherilee Nicholas, Jackie Fern Malic, Jay Blades, Erica Wills and Noemi Hernandez. Who killed these children is still a mystery as there are no leads despite a massive publicity campaign and an award of one hundred thousand dollars.

June Gabourel, Mother, Sherilee Nicholas
?I miss my daughter a lot. She was my first daughter out of my six children, she was the third and that was my first daughter. I really miss her.?

It has been a very difficult time for the families who are still distraught over the brutal and vicious way their little ones lives were taken. The children who were killed in separate incidents between 1998 and 2000 did share two things in common; they all came from poor families who lived on the city?s south side and all were acquainted with each other.

On September 8th, 1998 June Gabourel frantically appealed to the public after her thirteen year old daughter Sherilee Nicholas failed to return home after she left that day for school. One month later the child?s mutilated body was found.

June Gabourel
?It is difficult because in the heat of all the celebration my daughter went missing and am I was told I had to wait for seventy-two hours. During all that time I didn?t have time to really prepare to enjoy myself, but to keep looking searching for my daughter.?

It would not be long before another child, nine year old Jay Blades would disappear, also on her way to school. Almost six months later on March twenty-second, 1999 another child, twelve year old Jackie Fern Malic was reported missing. Two days later her body was found with multiple stab wounds. Then on June sixth, 1999 police were directed to a feeder road at mile three and a half off the Western Highway where they recovered the bones of another child later identified as Blades. Later that month on June twenty-eight young Erica Wills disappeared. Two weeks later her remains were found near a quarry in the vicinity of Grace Rock Village. Seven months later on February fifteenth, 2000 fourteen year old Noemi Hernandez was reported missing. The teenager?s remains were found on February twenty-fourth.

June Gabourel
?I don?t want people to ever forget in this time that this happen you know. Mothers have to be more attentive to the children especially girls, and I see a lot of little girls out on the street after hours.?

On Saturday a special service was held at St. Martin De Porres church to pray for the young victims and families. The gathering was small but the children?s relatives say they hope it will encourage those who may know something to come forward.

Fabiana Scott, Aunt, Jackie Fern Malic
?Well I try to unite with some of the families, really tried to talk with some. Some of them give up, but I am not going to give up. I am really not going to give up until they find the person, and when it comes to a close then I will say okay let us go and do our ordinary thing.?

June Gabourel
?No I haven?t. I haven?t given up at all. Because he is right there and I know that there are people who know and I would really like them to come forward with that answer because I know that they know who did it.?

Both Scott and Gabourel say there were disappointed that the other children?s families did not attend the service.

June Gabourel
?I would say shameful to see that only two parents showed up for five little girls. Only two parents turned out. Where are the rest of the parents? You know if the mothers do not want to come you have aunts, uncles and cousins somebody else could have turned out for the rest of the children.?

And that lack of concern may be why eight years later their killer or killers remain free to do it again.

Although a number of tips have been received in response to the reward offer, none has led to a credible suspect. Viewers who would like to offer information are reminded that we need more than just a name; there must be some evidence that links a suspect to the crime, like the name of a witness or location of a weapon. Police need your help to solve Belize’s most horrible string of crimes. Again, that number to call for CrimeStoppers is 0-800-922-8477.


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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