The mother of a 10-year-old girl who was discovered dead insists her daughter did not kill herself.
The body of Reneece Parasuramen, a resident of Stonebridge in Phoenix, was discovered last Friday hanging from a roof rafter. She wore her mother’s Punjabi shawl over her neck.
Ronelle Parasuramen, her 32-year-old mother, does not think her daughter committed suicide. She believes her young child was playing and was unaware of the danger she was in.
When Parasuramen and her husband were at work, Reneece and her sister Ranae Naidoo typically attended a daycare facility.
In uMhlanga, Parasuramen works as a contact center agent, and her 35-year-old husband Ronaldo Naidoo is a welder.
Parasuramen claimed that she made the decision to keep the girls home from daycare on Friday. Reneece had asthma, and Parasuramen opted to keep both girls at home since she had gotten soaked in the rain the day before.
She claimed that Anita Jagathpal, a neighbor, had promised to keep an eye on the girls.
“I gave her the house’s keys and requested her to periodically check on them. I prepared enough food for them to eat until my husband and I returned. At around 6.30 am, I bathed them before leaving for work.
Reneece exited the ground floor to greet me as I departed. I didn’t turn around because I knew I would see my child when I came home from work, though. I never imagined that would be the final time I heard her voice.
Unknown is exactly what took place after that. But just after noon, Ajith, Jagathpal’s spouse, walked outside to pray after he noticed Ranae sobbing next to the window.
Reneece was initially called for, but when she didn’t answer, he went inside to look into things. He discovered Reneece’s body hanging from a ceiling rafter in the parents’ bedroom.
He raised the alarm, but when the paramedics and the police arrived, the little girl was already dead.
Lieutenant Colonel Nqobile Gwala, a provincial police spokesperson, said an inquest docket was opened by Phoenix SAPS.
“The circumstances surrounding the incident are being investigated,” she said.
Parasuramen said everyone in her family were confused by the circumstances that led to Reneece’s death, but they did not believe she intentionally took her life.
“My child did not have a phone. She wasn’t exposed to social media. We don’t even have a television where she would have been exposed to something like this.
“I went through all her stuff to see if there were any clues or signs that she wasn’t okay, but there was nothing. Not even a letter. Nothing.
“Reneece and I were also very close. There was nothing she couldn’t tell me. She was such a happy child. She was humble, respectful and loving to her sister. She was even a straight-A student in school. Yes, we didn’t have much, but we were at peace.”
Parasuramen said she believed her daughter was playing a game that went wrong.
“I think it was just an accident or an experiment gone wrong. She was always making swings with my scarves.”
Parasuramen said from what she saw, Reneece had used a bar stool and put all the bedding in her room on the chair to reach the rafter.
“I think that when she stepped on the bedding, it fell and landed in a hollow space in the chair. I think she must have struggled to untie the knot she had made, and by then, she couldn’t scream for help.”
According to Parasuramen, her youngest child was traumatised by what had happened.
“On Friday night when everyone was gone, my 3-year-old said, ‘Mummy, Reneece was hanging from the roof. I saw everything.’ We haven’t questioned her as yet, and we don’t want to, in case it affects her too much. But it breaks my heart that she had to see that.”
Parasuramen said she, Ranae and her husband had arranged to see a counsellor at Berea Church in Stanmore, Phoenix.
“I know that when the house is quiet again, and those around me have left, I am really going to feel this loss. It’s really hard, but I believe that God did what he did for a reason. If he wanted her to survive, he would have allowed her to.”
Stasha Nulliah, the daycare teacher, said she was devastated.
“I take all the kids as my own, and this is heartbreaking for me. She was a very lovely and caring child and grew up right in front of me. She was with me the whole week and didn’t come on Friday because of the rain. It’s all unbelievable.”
Sabrina Naidoo, Reneece’s Grade 5 teacher at Stonebridge Primary School, said Reneece was a caring and well-liked learner.
“She loved taking on leadership roles in the classroom and always completed her work with such pride. She always gave of her best. Our hearts are broken hearing the news about her passing. My heart is with her loved ones and her friends from school – they were all so close, and I know they are deeply affected.
“She was always expressive of how she felt, and that’s what makes this news so difficult to believe.
“She always came to school with a smile, excited to tell me about how her mum did her hair and all about her baby sister. She was always sharing her sweets and writing notes to her teachers and friends.
“Mental health among people, especially our little ones, needs to be focused on at home and at schools. I pray our princess can rest in peace and always knows how loved she will always be. We will miss you, baby girl.”
Logie Govender, the Principal of Stonebridge Primary School, said the school would have a memorial service to honour Reneece.
“I am heartbroken and deeply saddened by her untimely demise. The staff, learners, SGB members and the community are devastated by this tragic loss. The community and a few sponsors have been assisting to create a special programme that will be held with learners, educators and parents.”
The funeral service was held on Tuesday at Berea Church in Stanmore, Phoenix, before cremation at the Verulam Crematorium.
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