Eighteen-year old Ashanti Riley will be laid to rest today.
Her young body will be laid following a 10am service at the Mt D’or SDA Church.
But how did we get here, burying a teenager, who from all accounts was intelligent, caring and had her whole life before her?
It all started on November 30th, 2020, the day the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) issued the following release of a missing teen.
It was another teenaged girl gone missing.
And the public went along with their business, thinking nothing of it.
Some social media comments implied that the 18-year-old had gone to spend time by her boyfriend and would return days later.
However, this was not the case.
On December 1st, 2020, The public saw the face of an anguished mother, Candice Riley plastered in every newspaper.
Candice informed the nation that the last time she saw her daughter was around 4.15pm on Sunday, November 29th, when the teenager left the apartment, headed to San Juan junction.
“She said she was going by her grandmother in Cocorite, Diego Martin, because her grandmother’s birthday was the same day, so all the grandchildren were going to spend the day with her.”
Candice debunked the rumors circulating online that her daughter had run away with her boyfriend, saying she had no reason to believe her daughter would go anywhere else.
In fact, Ashanti’s boyfriend had been with the family every day since her disappearance.
Candice never thought that when Ashanti walked out of the apartment to the corner of Sunshine and Lloyd Street in San Juan, where she waited for a taxi, that that would have been the last moments for her daughter.
Ashanti was last seen wearing a denim knee-length skirt and an olive-green top with a pattern on the front. Security-camera footage from a neighbouring house showed Ashanti getting into a blue Almera.
December 2nd, 2020, Candice Riley, revealed that the police had no updates for her on where her daughter might be.
However, police visited her apartment that afternoon to say a male suspect, a PH taxi driver had been held the day before and had been questioned. However, at the time, he was refusing to talk to them.
December 3rd, 2020; The TTPS revealed that Ashanti’s disappearance was now in the hands of the Anti-Kidnapping Unit (AKU) and Homicide Bureau.
The case was originally being investigated by San Juan police.
December 4th, 2020; All media headlines read ‘Body Found in Santa Cruz’ and it was suspected to be that of the missing teen.
Around 8.05 am on Friday, members of the Anti-Kidnapping Unit went to a forested area in upper La Canoa, where Riley’s body had been found.
Police said they received information and visited Cakes Land, Upper La Canoa, Santa Cruz, but owing to poor light they returned on Friday around 6 am.
Two hours later Riley’s naked body was found in a shallow stream approximately 60 feet from the road.
An hour after the body of 18-year-old Ashanti was found in Santa Cruz, a San Juan man was arrested.
Police said they held the man at his home at Laventille Road, San Juan.
He was the second man held for Riley’s disappearance.
A 32-year-old man was held on Monday, the day after Riley went missing, and a third was being sought.
Police said from CCTV and video footage from nearby residents they tracked what may have been Riley’s final moments.
After she was picked up by a driver in his blue Nissan Almera from her Lloyd Street, Sunshine Avenue home, bound for San Juan, the driver picked up two other men. Then the driver is seen heading in the opposite direction from where Riley should have been dropped off – San Juan Junction – and near where her body was found.
December 6th, 2020; The Prime Minister weighs in.
He responds to the outrage over Ashanti’s death at a media briefing at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s.
He said as a father of two daughters, uncle to nieces and cousins, “when the news comes to me about somebody experiencing that, I physically feel the pain and say what would I have done if that was me.”
“Unfortunately there is evil on our society, like any other, and the question is are we doing anything to encourage it, to discourage it…These developments in recent days are not the pain of a family, it is a national pain…it is just another one of the challenges that we have to face and if there are things that we can do, or must do, all I could say is lets identify such things and do them,” he said.
Questioned on criminals posing as PH drivers, Rowley said he had raised it with the Minister of National Security and it is a matter the population had to confront.
December 9th, 2020 – The dreaded autopsy.
An autopsy done that day revealed that Ashanti was stabbed multiple times and beaten by her attackers.
The autopsy said she died from sharp force injuries to the right of her chest and lower abdomen and blunt force trauma to the back of the left chest.
The autopsy report did not say if she was sexually assaulted. Two men remain in police custody in relation to her murder, but at that time, no charges had been laid.
December 12th, 2020; Relatives, friends and other people take part in a motorcade in honour of Riley, where they called for justice for her and all the women who suffered similar fates.
December 13th, 2020; A 32 year old man has officially been charged for the murder of 18 year old Ashanti Riley.
According to reports Luciano Quash will appear in court on December 14 to answer the charge of murdering Ashanti Riley.
Quash who is represented by Attorney at Law, Fareed Ali, was also charged with sexually assaulting a 16 year old in March.
December 14th 2020 – Ashanti Riley will be buried.
A beautiful young woman, gone too soon. May she rest in peace!