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Friday, March 31, 2006
A Devilish Deed
A Devilish Deed

The boy's grieving mother caresses the face of Daniel Luke during the funeral of their murdered son.

The brutal murder of six-year-old Sean Luke plunged an entire village into a state of grief and anger.

Little Sean was an inquisitive, playful child who never had a sad face. He would run to everyone he met, even strangers, hugging them and asking for them to join him in a game of football. It was this friendly nature that may have led to his gruesome death, relatives said.

Residents recalled that hours before he went missing, Sean was seen playing football with a group of teenagers outside his home. Two of those boys have since been held for committing the heinous crime.

Up to last night, the teenagers, who recently moved into the village, were being questioned by Homicide detectives. Investigators said charges were expected to be laid against the 14-year-olds soon.

Residents believed Sean was lured into the canefield by his attackers after they took him to a neighbourhood parlour and bought him a pack of juice and a snack.

Sean Luke

They then walked him through a bushy track and into the canefield, where someone removed his clothing and plunged a cane stalk into the body of the naked boy, puncturing his lungs and damaging other organs.

He suffered a slow, agonising death, an autopsy found.

Sean, who was born in the United States, was buried yesterday, two days after his already decomposing body was discovered in the canefield, 200 feet from his home at Orange Valley, Couva.

Relatives, teachers, classmates, residents, politicians and even the school's security guard cried openly for Sean, who was described as an "angel sent by God".

Relatives of the boys who are accused of murdering Sean did not attend the funeral. Their houses, located on the same street where Sean lived, remained locked yesterday. When the casket bearing Sean's body arrived at his home around 11 a.m., his mother, Pauline Lum Fai, screamed for her child.

"Please don't take my baby from me. Don't leave me, Sean. I can't live without you. You are my life, Sean," she cried.

Lum Fai pounded the casket and shouted: "Why did they do this to my baby? Why these little children do this to my son?"

A basket with flowers was placed on the sealed casket along with his favourite teddy bear and his pet turtle.

Sean's father, Daniel Luke, wailed as he looked at the framed photograph of his son which was placed on the casket.

Pupils of the Waterloo Hindu School, (where Sean was in second year) teachers and the principal also attended the funeral. His class teacher, Vera Salick, cried uncontrollably throughout the service.

Pundit Dave Rampersad, who officiated, lashed out at the authorities for failing to protect the youths.

"Let this be an awakening for our leaders, politicians, parents and teachers to perform their duty, which is to protect our innocent children. It is time for them to take up the mantle and guide our children to the right path. Criminals don't fall from the sky, they come from homes. Where are the parents? Stop corrupting your children's minds with television and negativity. It is easy to have a child, but the challenge is really how to be a parent," he said.

Satnarine Maharaj, secretary general of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha, said teachers throughout the country was saddened by the news of Sean's death.

"This was such a heinous crime, that even the Gods were shedding tears. The principal and teachers at the Waterloo Hindu School are all traumatised by this," he said.

Principal Nandran Maharaj described Sean's murder as a "devilish deed".

"Our nation is in deep crisis, we have lost our way and can no longer determine what is right from wrong," he said.

Family friend Vidya Harripersad, who delivered the eulogy, said Sean always had a pleasant face and was always smiling.

"He would always tell his mother how much he loved her and when she didn't tell him he would remind her to say she loved him too," she said.

Harripersad said Sean loved anything with wheels and when asked what he wanted to be when he grew up he always answered: "I want to fix the engines of aeroplanes and spaceships."

As it was being removed, Lum Fai clutched the casket and screamed.

"Please don't go, Sean, please don't go, I love you Sean. I will always love you."

Sean was buried at the Waterloo Public Cemetery.