Latoya, Mark and Mark Jr. Reid. Photo Today / Milton Pieters
(TODAY) – St. Maarten / By Milton G Pieters – When Latoya Morgan tucked in her two month old child to sleep during the early stages of Tuesday evening, she had no idea it would be the last time. Less than five hours after, that child, Mark Reid Jr was dead, now the still distraught mother wants to set the record straight.
As the entire island fights hard to come to grips with what unfolded late on Tuesday evening in Middle Region, Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams has extended her heartfelt condolences to the family of the deceased.
Morgan, a mother of three who is originally from Jamaica and works in Oyster Bay, lives in the apartment at Middle Region #107 with Mark Reid, the father of the now dead infant also from Jamaica who is employed as Sheriff Security.
According to an earlier media report the baby was brutally killed on the road by a man who had suffered a mental breakdown. According to the article, prior to the alleged snatching of the baby from its home in Middle Region.
In a brief response from the Prosecutors Office up to late yesterday afternoon, this newspaper was told that the details of the crime scene are still being analyzed and it’s far too early to ascertain the probable cause of death.
The man, who also works at Sheriff Security, was involved in a road rage which started at the club in Defiance and left several cars damaged in its wake before making a hasty exit on foot after the car he was driving crashed into a wall.
Realizing that the police was in hot pursuit, the man, whose initials were given as D.L.B, from Dominica sought refuge in the nearest house which turned out to be the one Morgan and Reid live in.
“Me and the baby were asleep when I heard a sound and I jumped up quickly,” Morgan said in a quivering tone of voice. Morgan’s initial thought was that the person who had already gained entry into her downstairs apartment was a thief, but had no idea that the man had another motive and was not mentally stable.
“The front door was wide open and I saw the man with no shirt on the couch and babbling something like 999, to himself. I decided to hide behind the bathroom door and kept my eyes on him through a small hole. When he made his move, the first place he looked was in the bathroom, but he did not see me, then he went into the bedroom,” Morgan added.
Oblivious of what had occurred a short distance away on the public road, Morgan, who was fearful for her life made a dash for her front door and shouted for help. “I figured out, it had to be a thief, I had no idea that the life of my son was at risk. I went upstairs to my landlord and banged on her door but she did not respond then until I struck the window again with a remote and I told her someone was in my house,” she said.
Morgan said that her landlord called the police and was told that a patrol was already in the Middle Region area and would respond as soon as possible. “I heard the baby cry while I was upstairs and thought, ok, maybe the noise woke him up. It was my landlord who saw him leaving the house, but because the place was dark, I could not see what he had in his hands, it was someone else that noticed it,” she blurted out.
Morgan’s fears worsened when she finally decided to return to her apartment which at that stage was ransacked. “I was not looking for signs of blood when I went back inside, I wanted to see if my son was okay, but I never saw my baby again,” she said.
In her quick assessment of the situation, Morgan said that she saw a few drops of blood on the porch and people was telling her to take it easy. The removal of a Holy Bible from the crib along with the baby was a clear sign that the man in custody is not in his right frame of mind.
“I did not even know my son was dead; the police told me, they said that my son died after the man slammed him down on the road a few times, that is not true, cause if the baby was alive when he was taking him from the house, he would have cried all the time. I was told after that my son was stabbed in his chest and his arms and his feet were broken,” Morgan pointed out.
Ironically, the situation might have been worse if Morgan’s eldest daughter age 15 had spent the night there. “She would have been on that couch and she would have been the first person he would kill, it’s a good thing she was staying at her father.”
“This whole thing is really heart breaking for me to know that I putting my life on the line to protect other people’s lives and property while my own is a target,” said Reid who had left for work in Oyster Bay shortly before the gruesome attack.
With his head bowed down and looking aimlessly at the tiled floor, Reid said, “I have to ask God to give us the faith from this storm. But after this storm, there must be a calm,” Reid Sr said. As a seasoned football goal keeper, Reid had big plans for his still infant son.
“I was looking forward to seeing him playing in the future, I even took him to the futsal games and no parent wants to see their child die like that. If they were sick and die, that was okay, but for somebody to violate your home and kill a baby, that should not happen on St Maarten, babies are innocent,” Reid said.
Even with the accused in custody, Reid does not feel that he will get the justice he deserves. “They said that he is sick in his head, he will get medical attention maybe a few months behind bars and then he back on the road. But nothing they do to him will bring back my son, nothing can erase my pain.”
Looking back briefly in retrospect, Reid said that the two months they spent with Mark Jr were wonderful. “That baby never gave his mother or me any kind of trouble, he was a special baby and loved by many,” he said.
For now, the grieving couple will have to deal with the planning of funeral arrangements for Mark Jr. However, Reid Sr is already thinking about having a memorial futsal tournament in memory of his only son.