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Mother detained after toddler’s drowning death

August 14th, 2018 | Tags:
Investigations continue into the circumstances surrounding the drowning death two-year-old, Isiahilia Sterling, at Chaguaramas. Photo: T&T Newsday
T&T Guardian

A 19-year-old woman was up to late yesterday assisting homicide detectives as they continued investigations into the circumstances surrounding the drowning death of her two-year-old daughter at Chaguaramas on Sunday (August 12, 2018).

According to reports, around 4 pm, the woman, of Quarry Road, San Juan, was at Williams’ Bay, Chaguaramas, with her two-year-old daughter and another toddler, when the little girl drowned.

Coast Guard officers attempted to resuscitate the child but were unsuccessful. She was taken to the St James Medical Complex, where she was pronounced dead on arrival.

The incident occurred a little over a year after three-year-old Josiah “Messi” Gorkin died in similar circumstances during a family outing at the same beach.

Gorkin’s father Atiba was eventually charged with manslaughter (unlawful killing). That case is still at the preliminary inquiry stage.

Police sources said that investigators will continue to compile witness statements from those present during Sterling’s drowning and would approach the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), later this week, for advice.

Investigations are continuing.

Lifeguard warning to parents

Contacted yesterday evening, a veteran lifeguard warned parents with young children to be vigilant when visiting beaches during the school vacation period.

In a telephone interview, patrol captain at Las Cuevas Bay, Kirk Morton said that the special attention is necessary during the period as the already limited lifeguard resources were stretched by the high influx of people going to beaches.

Morton suggested that upon arriving at the beach, parents with children, as well as adults, should consult with lifeguards if there are any present.

“Normally there will be dangerous areas marked off. If you don’t understand the flags then consult the lifeguards and he or she would explain where you should and should not bathe,” he said.

Morton also warned against the use of boards and inflatables in the water these devices may cause swimmers to encounter difficulties.


Meanwhile in a separate T&T Newsday Report, the 19-year-old mother of baby of Isiahilia Sterling was identified as Rizpah “Miracle” Sterling.

She has since denied being negligent, saying she had been keeping her eye on her two daughters for the entire outing with family and friends.

She said she had only taken her eye off the toddler for a second, and in that moment her child’s life was lost.

“It happened so fast I didn’t even know what happened,” said the weeping mother as she recounted the story to Newsday at her Quarry Road, San Juan home. “That child was me. She was my life. They putting the blame on me, but I would give my life for her. I would sell my soul for my child. I would do anything for my children. No one knows how much this hurts me.”

She said she and her two daughters were among 14 people on the outing, which included seven children, and seven adults.

At around 4 pm, she said, she was bathing with her two children when she realised her younger daughter, who is seven months old, had begun falling asleep, so she decided to take the baby out of the water and change her.


She took Isiahilia and put her on the shore, where she began playing in the sand and building a sandcastle. While she was tending to the baby, she said she kept a watchful eye on Isiahilia.

Then, Sterling said, she turned away for a second to put out a plate of food, but before she could take out a spoonful, she heard people screaming for her to go into the water. She ran to the sea to find her daughter face-down in the water and semi-conscious.

Sterling said while emergency services took the child to the St James Infirmary, she prayed to the Almighty to save her life, and even fell to her knees in prayer at the hospital, calling out to God to spare her child’s life. “I said God, if you save this child’s life I will change mine for the better. I was praying and singing the song Only Believe.

“They (medical staff) called me in the room and they said they have to stop the attempts to resuscitate her. “I put her little hand in mine, and I saw her close her eyes. I picked her up and cried out to God: Why did you take my child away from me?”

Sterling described her child as a loving and intelligent child who, despite her tender age, showed great love to her little sister and her mother and went out of her way to care for them.

“Every morning when she wakes up, she kisses her little sister. Every day she would tell me she loves me. She does everything for me. Don’t mind sometimes she is a little hardened and we would fall out, but that is my child.

A police source told Newsday, investigators will approach the Director of Public Prosecutions for advice but that will not be until a post mortem is done and statements taken from witnesses.



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