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Sep 4, 2006

Mom leaves kids and candles; fire kills two

Story PictureTwo children are dead tonight in what appears to be one more instance of parental neglect. This afternoon I travelled to Orange Walk, looking for the story behind a weekend fire that has destroyed a home and a family.

Supt. Robert Mariano, O.C. Orange Walk Police Station
?Lavern Alvarez was charged for two counts of Manslaughter by Negligence and two counts of Causing Death by Careless Conduct. I decided to initiate those four charges after conducting a consultation with the Director of Public Prosecution. As you know the mother was taken to Magistrate?s Court and the court granted her bail. I know as well that manslaughter is a bailable offence.?

Lavern Alvarez, Mother
?I know I made a big mistake, but it happened too fast. I didn?t expect this.?

Jacqueline Godwin, Reporting
?You left your children in the care of an adult??

Lavern Alvarez
?No.?

Around ten on Saturday night, thirty-four year old Lavern Alvarez left six of her eleven children in the care of her fourteen year old daughter. The mother said she left the house to visit a female friend.

Lavern Alvarez
?The only thing that kept me back is when I got to my friend?s house, Phyllis Sambula, was that four ladies were there, me and three other ladies. She gave me a little cup of rum and coke and I took two. After that when I noticed my neighbour came telling me that my house was on fire.?

Authorities believe the fire was started by one of the lighted candles left unattended.

Supt. Robert Mariano
?Personally I believe the matter was negligent. After the incident occurred, we have witnesses who came forward and gave statements stating that she was found at a private party. The aroma of alcohol could be smelt on her breath as well and personally I think she could have taken more care and be more responsible in leaving those children at home unattended, especially knowing that she had left that amount of candles on inside the house. As a matter of fact the candle was not even secured.?

Lavern Alvarez
?Because I didn?t have light home in my home. Four weeks I haven?t had current in my home they cut off my current. So all day Saturday I was there with my children because I bake bread. That day I made fifty dollars out of bread and bun. I usually do that everyday because it is me one. I am like a mother and father. Later in the evening I had some of my friends that were there and I light four candles.?

Supt. Robert Mariano
?There are times when people use candle and they put it in a glass plate or in something like a lamp shade to avoid fire and there is nothing to show that any care was take at all. Even though, she shouldn?t have left the candle on any at all. There was nothing to show that she tried to take any kind action to prevent anything.?

The charred remains of three year old Deshawm Alvarez and seven year old Davis Alvarez were found in one of the two bedroom house.

Julius Cantun, Head, C.I.B., Orange Walk
?The house is comprised of two bedrooms. The two bodies were found in one bedroom inside the house. The baby?s body was found on the bed and the seven year old body was found lying face down inside the bedroom in the floor. Due to the extent of the damage that we have seen from the house it was a minimal chance that they could have survived based on that. In relation to the seven year old running back into the house our investigation revealed that it was the thirteen year daughter, who had been left there in charge of the other five, when she was aware that there was a house fire she was able to take out the two year old. However, in her effort to get the other siblings out of the house the two year old went back into the house and she was not aware. So until the thing was said and done we realized that two of them were missing. We just received information from our police that witness the post mortem and he has informed us that the doctor has certified the case of death as carbonization due to drive heat exposure. I understand that it means that the children burnt to death.?

The police say it was a tragedy just waiting to happen because reports received suggest it is not the first time the mother has abandoned her children.

Supt. Robert Mariano
?Based on the statements by witnesses it shows that this is not the first time. It is a habit as a matter of fact. Witnesses have stated that they have advised her several times, because the people in the neighbourhood were aware of what was happening with that family.?


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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