Hope is Dead

By Rhondor Dowlat
Wednesday, May 28 2008

Hope is DeadEIGHT-YEAR-OLD Hope Arismandez is dead.

The little girl’s battered and bruised body was found in a canefield in the village of Petersfield, on the outskirts of Felicity, late last evening.

Hope was raped, buggered and stabbed to death. Her semi-nude body was left on a dirt road in the canefield, which runs parallel to Pierre Road, Charlieville.

Homicide detectives disclosed that there was a stab-wound to the anus and a knife was recovered from the canefield.

Investigators ASP Stanley Ramdeen, Insp Johnny Abraham, PC Sunil Ramoutar led a team to the crime scene after a 28-year-old suspect confessed to Hope’s murder and told them where he had left her body. The suspect has been in police custody since early Sunday morning. Hope’s mother Sherman Rajoon, 48, reported her missing from their apartment home at Umesh Drive, Lime Head Road, Chaguanas, on Saturday night.

Investigators had interrogated the suspect over the past few days at the Freeport Police Station, and yesterday he broke down and told them where he had left the little girl’s body.

Investigators took the suspect with them and arrived at the canefield at about 4.15 pm. As the team searched, they found Hope lying face down on a dirt road and she only had on a pink blouse. Rajoon, her older daughter Stacey and Hope’s father Ronald Arismandez were also at the scene and identified the girl’s body.

Shortly after, homicide detectives gave instructions for the suspect’s dump truck to be impounded and taken to the Forensic Science Centre in St James.

Officers from the Crime Scene Investigations Unit and the Special Anti-Crime Unit (SAUTT) also combed the canefield searching for evidence while Hope’s body was examined by a district medical officer who had the body taken away to the Forensic Science Centre for an autopsy. Deputy Police Commissioner James Philbert and ACP Crime Maurice Piggott were also on the scene.

Earlier in the day, homicide detectives interviewed Hope’s parents at the Chaguanas apartment. Hope lived there with her mother, the suspect and a brother. The suspect’s truck which was at the apartment complex was inspected by ASP Ramdeen, Insp Abraham and PC Ramoutar.

Neighbours had reported seeing Hope in the truck with the suspect as he left the compound on Saturday at about 9.10 pm. Police report that the suspect returned to the apartment without Hope shortly before 11 pm.

In an interview, about two hours before his daughter’s body was found, Hope’s father Ronald Arismandez said he believed she was alive. He said he had a close relationship with Hope and had raised her to know that if anyone harassed her she could confide in him.

“Just a few days ago we went to KFC and we were talking but she never gave any sign that anything was wrong with her or that anybody was interfering with her. She usually would confide certain information to me. it was normal. She is very intelligent and knows what she is about and is very aware as to what is happening around her. She was taught right from wrong and knew how she was to be treated by anyone, whether they were man or woman,” said Arismandez.

After the homicide detectives left Rajoon’s residence, they went to the Freeport Police Station where they were met by two members of SAUTT.

After about an hour, two officers of the Crime Scene Investigations Unit left the station, followed by an E999 highway patrol car. The two SAUTT officers left shortly after and they were soon followed by more detectives who escorted the suspect from the station to a van. they then drove off in the direction of St Mary’s Junction.

Fifteen minutes later it was confirmed that Hope’s body had been found.

A relative at the crime scene, who did not want to be named, expressed disbelief over Hope’s death. “I really don’t know why an innocent child like this had to go in such a brutal and inhumane manner. What did she ever do to deserve this? She was surely an angel came down to earth straight from heaven above,” said the relative.

Neighbour Michelle Orthello said Hope had spent the day with her on Saturday, while Rajoon was at work, before the suspect picked her up at about 5 pm.

“ I am ripped in pieces over this, I can’t believe that this is really happening. She was such a nice and pleasant girl that I loved dearly and will always do,” said Orthello.

Chaguanas Mayor Surujrattan Rambachan, who also arrived at the crime scene, extended sincere condolences to Hope’s relatives.

He said he was very concerned about the crime rate in Central Trinidad, particularly in remote areas where criminals hide out. He claimed 100 police officers had been transferred from the Central Division to work in Port-of-Spain depleting the manpower to protect the communities.

“If those officers weren’t removed we would surely have had that 100 more manpower strength in the Central district. There are hardly any officers to frequently patrol the areas especially the areas where there are canefields still in existence. Even recently there was an announcement made that there were surveillance cameras given to Port-of-Spain and San Fernando and Chaguanas was left out. There needs to be more attention given to Central by the Minister of National Security and the Commissioner of Police, Trevor Paul,” said Rambachan.

On Saturday, Rajoon, had returned to her home from work shortly before 11 pm and noticed that Hope was missing. She and tenants of the apartment complex questioned the suspect about the child’s whereabouts. He told them he thought Hope was with another neighbour — Vijanti Cassie and her teenage daughter in their apartment.

Hope had called her mother at about 9 pm and told her she was watching television with the suspect. During questioning by the police, the man told two stories. He first said he went to Medford Gas Station and had his truck filled with diesel, then he changed his account and said he did not go into the station because there was a line of vehicles. He said he went to a bar and drank two beers before returning to the apartment.


Tragic end to Hope’s story: Body of 8-year-old found in canefield

By Camille Clarke
Wednesday 28th May, 2008

VictimThe body of eight-year-old Hope Arismandez was found yesterday in a canefield at Pierre Road Connector in Chaguanas by Homicide officers.

Police believe that Hope, of Umesh Drive, in Chaguanas, a student of the Carapichaima Roman Catholic School, was criminally assaulted.

She had been reported missing by her mother, Sherma Rajoon, on Saturday.
A 30-year-old relative of Hope is being held in police custody. Police said he led officers to her body.

A report said Hope left home on Saturday in the company of a relative, who claimed he went to buy gas at the Medford Gas Station.

However, the relative gave conflicting stories to police officers when interrogated.

The suspect first stated he bought gas, but he then said the gas station was too busy. In another version, he said he only remembered seeing Hope at her house.

Homicide officers visited the mother’s home yesterday around midday and conducted investigations. Within three hours, Hope’s body was found.

Investigators said Hope was clad in the pink shirt she left the house in on Saturday.

Pieces of underwear and pants were found a short distance away, investigators said.

They said the child’s was found face down with stab wounds.

The relative, who was under police guard, hid in a heavily-tinted white SUV, away from the sight of reporters and villagers who gathered at the crime scene.

Hours before, the victim’s father, Ronald Arismandez, and Rajoon prayed for their daughter’s safe return.

However, Rajoon said she blamed the relative.

“He is to blame because I left her in his custody,” Rajoon said, in an interview at her Umesh Drive home.

School principal Heather Palmer Ovid and teacher Yvette Avella visited the apartment to give support to Hope’s mother.

Teddy bears lined her little bed and a bike was placed at its foot.

The mother said she had been left Hope in the care of a man.

“He did not even want her to go by a neighbour’s house. He would take her everywhere he went,” Rajoon said.

Nevertheless, Rajoon said the relative had been known to take occasional drinks when he got his fortnightly pay.

The mother also said Hope wanted to be a teacher and spent all her spare time reading.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Homicide Maurice Piggott said the matter was under investigation and a suspect was being held in custody.
“We will send a release later.

We do have a man in custody, who we interviewed and is being detained,” Piggott said.

Mayor of Chaguanas Dr Surujrattan Rambachan said Central was under siege by the criminal elements.
“We are concerned about the bodies. Central is a hotbed of crime. There are robberies of families and murders,” Rambachan said.

He added that 100 central police officers had been relocated to Port-of-Spain Division.

“Central is suffering from political vindictiveness when they should be here,” he said.

Rambachan expressed his condolences to the family.

23 thoughts on “Hope is Dead”

  1. Hope is better off in the arms of God than with a mother who all but swore this man would not hurt hope. did she not find it strange that this man spent every spare moment with her daughter and not her? did she choose to turn a blind eye? why was hope’s father not involved in baby sitting activities for his daughter? where was the teen aged brother at 11pm? why was it ok with the mother that the man could have taken Hope to a bar? too many question a 48 year old mother with a 28 year 0ld man? how long did she know this man? was this misplaced trust or denial? too many questions. woke at 2am Hope on my mind

  2. my hope for hope is that others will be spared because of her tragic experience. parents , PARENTS not just mothers but fathers be very cautious take every precaution when it comes to our children. listen to what they don’t say. my sincere condolences.

  3. I came home briefly, to mourn the passing to the ancestors, of an eighty-one year old man, and on the way out this morning, picked up the paper at the airport, to read this.

    I weep for a child I did not know.
    The girl with the laughing eyes is dead.
    A pretty girl of eight, a child really, fed a last meal of fried chicken, by mother’s man-friend, then taken away, and her life taken away.
    If she made a call to come home now, to mom out at the store, did she know what was in store for her?
    Some infant instinct smelling danger beyond the meal?
    Unable to cope with it alone?
    A laughing eyed child will laugh no more, face down in a cane field, abandoned, abused.
    How do we do this to our own children, the children of our partners?
    How do we do this to our laughing eyed girls, with bright curls falling into their faces? Our girls with yellow bows in hair and innocence oozing from every pore?
    A touchingly lovely picture in the papers Tuesday, and known dead by Wednesday, despite parents hope.

    Another baby dead at Mt. Hope the papers say, but that was a premature infant with breathing problems- that we can wrap our minds around, but this madness?
    A pretty eight year old biracial child- the loveliness that is Trinidad, a symbol of unity, is wrested from us, by a supposed caregiver.
    Who failed to protect her, in a society turned inside out by evil?
    What monster would rape and kill an eight year old child, in the finest blossoming of her childhood? For sex? For a snuff video to sell to perverts? Our island’s imported vices know no bounds.
    What monstrosities lurk inside our houses waiting to pounce? What sick pervert seeing a woman with a pretty daughter, courts her to gain access to her child?
    O God, who can protect our children when mothers have to work? We cannot carry them in a string band, each ties to the other for safety.

    How many more, today, this week, would be fed or offered something attractive, as a lure towards rape and death? Could we see it coming if we look hard enough? Feeding, grabbing,raping , killing in one short spate of time.
    Who or what unleashed these monsters on our children, to drink the blood of innocents ?
    I weep for the daughters and sons of my land. So beautiful, so boisterous, so brutal. So beautifully brutal, and deadly.

    Written aboard Flighrt 419, and posted from Houston.

  4. I believe part of the problem is that the Trinidad government isn’t investing enough time, money, and effort into the social welfare of its people.

  5. Friend on murder charge
    Director of Public Prosecution Geoffrey Henderson last evening ordered the police to charge a 28-year-old man with the murder of eight-year-old Hope Arismandez.

    The killing of Hope Arismandez
    Schoolmates set up shrine for Hope

    The death of little Hope Arismandez, 8, has cast a veil of sadness at Carapichaima RC School where she was a Standard One student…

    Family feels the pain
    Big sister Stacey Rajoon, 25, intends to keep her promise and purchase a pair of shoes for Hope Arismandez…

    ‘Children under siege’
    It’s heart-rending! That was how Diana Mahabir-Wyatt, head of the Coalition Against Domestic Violence, reacted to the news of the murder of eight-year-old Hope Arismandez.

    Suspect had violent past
    The man who police said killed eight-year-old Hope Arismandez-the girl who loved him like a father-hid a dark past with a history of violence.

    Man in court today on murder charge
    A 30-YEAR-OLD Warrenville man is expected to appear before a Chaguanas magistrate today, charged with the murder of eight-year-old Hope Arismandez…

    Consultant: Laws needed to protect children

    Minister: There are monsters among us
    “The law alone cannot protect the welfare of children,” Social Development Minister Dr Amery Browne said yesterday, as he responded to statements made by United National Congress (UNC-A) Deputy Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar on the death of eight-year-old Hope Arismandez.

    Kamla, Bas blame Govt
    Hope’s death renews issue of children’s legislation

    Minister: Hope was not at risk
    Social Development Minister Dr Amery Browne said investigations “thus far” by social workers have found there were no reports or indications that eight year-old Hope Arismandez was “at risk.”

    Tears for Sean Luke, Amy
    HOPE ARISMANDEZ, Amy Emily Anamanthodo and Sean Luke Lumfai are just some of the names that would always live on with one thing in common — all three children were brutally raped and murdered.

  6. I am only 23 years old and things like this makes me afraid of having kids, fearing that one day i may not be there to protect them since these terrible acts usually takes place by someone you know and trust. I believe this should be a ‘wake up’ call for parents to become aware of the less obvious and always think of the possiblities before making a decision. I’m so afraid of having children that I redirect my goals to helping those who are less fortunate in memory of Hope and those who also suffered like her.

  7. My heart goes out to that family and other families who have experience similar lost. I feel so helpless as the pain is so intense like I knew this little girl called Hope. I pray that God will give them strength to go on. This is not the time for pointing fingers but to keep a closer connection with our children and not to over look things or sweep things under the carpet or even turn a blind eyes to things.Let us learn from this horrid event and come together to pray for our society and for our children. I love you Hope.

  8. Just another sad case of violence against children especially girls. It’s what the world is today. I’m afraid to bring a child in2 this terrible world. You can’t even trust the person you commit to with your children. WATCH AND PRAY people.

  9. My heart goes out for the mother. I know the agony you are going through right now. She is with god. That predator will be sentence in jail. Those inmate will take good care of him, when they are finished. In china boy o boy they will let that monster rot in jail. Trinidad should implement new laws especially on kids who are brutally rape and murder. Please do something constructive on the island. These are innocent children who are being victimized by predators. As for me I would make sure that monster don not see light. It hurt me when I read these articles on the papers. I am a trinidadian by birth, and loved my country but animals like this must be outcast. Please president implement these laws and the country will be so smooth.

  10. Mob wants blood
    An angry mob screamed for the blood of Sunil Ali yesterday as heavily armed police officers and soldiers escorted him to the Chaguanas Magistrates’ Court where he appeared for the murder of eight-year-old Hope Arismandez.

    Prison moves to protect accused child killer

    Prison authorities last night made special security arrangements for Sunil Ali, the man accused of killing eight-year-old Hope Arismandez.

    Angry crowd taunts Hope murder accused
    PANDEMONIUM erupted outside the Chaguanas Magistrates’ Court yesterday when Sunil Ali appeared in court, charged with the murder of his eight-year-old stepdaughter Hope Arismandez…

    Next on Govt’s agenda: Children’s legislation
    The long overdue package of children’s legislation will be next on the Government’s parliamentary agenda, Leader of Government Business Colm Imbert promised yesterday.

    Minister: Parents are responsible for safety of a child
    The safety and welfare of a child are the responsibilities of the parents, says Social Development Minister Dr Amery Browne.

    Imbert: Children’s Authority Bill soon
    In light of the tragic murder of eight-year old Hope Arismandez, Leader of Government Business Colm Imbert yesterday hinted at the possibility of a special sitting of Parliament to speed up the passage of the Children’s Authority (Amendment) Bill 2008.

  11. I want to know how much more of our children must go through this and I am sure this is not the last you know how much children are going through abuse right now as I speak we need to pray as a country and ask god for his guidance!!!

  12. Blaming the victims

    I am not one that believe in shifting blame, but caution for some restraint at times.I do not even know if this case warrants it. Single parenting presents difficulties for all classes and races across the globe. It is even more of an issue for lower segments of the population. There must be a comprehensive policy that can reflect intollerance to crimes such as murder , rape and serious assaults that are perpetuted especially against children and the elderly. Postering and pretensive outrage by politicisns at this stage are pointless. Empty gestures by a few citizens as they prepare to vote of the next election along narrow ideological/partizan and even racial lines are fruitless .As a former law enforcement officer in my country,I saw this wanton beastlike behavior frequently, and apparently it is still common.Let us keep spending millions to persecute and defend corrupt politicians and elements of the judiciary and see where it will get us. Keep blaming the overwhelmed ,neglected and at times fustrated cops and look at the results.

  13. Children are not saved from disaster by laws, but by caring adults, always on the lookout for danger.When every child in the nation becomes your child, when something in you is triggered by a child’s crying, or recently wiped tears, or a child’s apparent unwillingness to go with someone, even one who seems a caregiver, we would be on our way to being a child-friendly society.

    Right now, it is possible to say that one of the greatest causes of death of children is being born in TnT of itself. Alas, this was not so forty years ago. We were poor then, and a more caring society, one that had no specific laws to protect children, but one that generally seemed to know right from wrong. We were a society where neighbours spoke up if something did not seem right. Now that seemed to have changed.

    In getting our groove back, we women seem to be making our daughters into sacrificial lambs to murderers and perverts.

  14. its sad to know what had happed to hope i asa mother fear everyday for my child aswell …what had trinidad become its amazaing to know that any human can do this to a child. It’s most upsetting. I wish the family of hope all my prayers to overcome this tragedy . To all the parents out there keep your children safe and also be a friend to them to be able to talk to them on all matters.. protect them from all the evil out there.

  15. I am a hawk where my children are concerned. I have to ask the question (mother 48 her boyfriend 28) he could be her son. How long has she known that man, how it is that he spends so much time with the child. The father said that she told him everything I don’t think so. I feel that man molested that child before. He has a chair in hell waiting for him, what demons we have walking the earth. You can watch a child and be sexually aroused he is f***ing sick. Those things literally make my stomach pain right now I fell agony, I did not want to be in the mother’s shoes I know alot of people blame her not that they really should but because this unfortunate thing happened and she was the one that brought that monster into their lives. The relative that was babysitting Hope had no right to release her to him either. It is so heart-wrenching to know that it’s the people around us whom we grow to love and trust are the ones that hurt us the most. As a woman, a human being and a mother of four I have to say that God do not give people more than they can bare. And did I read something that he commited suicide he got nerve, he really got nerve. I live in New York with my family and those are things that make you stay in bad marriages just that your child could grow with her father (although they do it too) to protect them from evil stepparents. Growing up I read fairy tales about evil stepparents this is a PERFECT example of evil stepparents Sharma my heart goes out to you and hurt with you good luck and please seek some professional help. BYE!

  16. This Over Valued Vaginal Symdrome from which many of our women are suffering seems to suppress their protective maternal instinct. They jeopardize the safety and well being of their children and sometimes abandon them completely simply to get of or to hold on to a sexual partner.

  17. Goodbye to Hope
    …as Cops probe killer’s suicide

    RONALD Arismandez, father of eight-year-old Hope whose decomposing body was found in a canefield last Tuesday, said yesterday that he has forgiven Sunil Ali for killing her. But Arismandez is also upset that Ali, 28, chose to take his own life while in custody at the Golden Grove Prison on Friday evening.

    Farewell to Hope
    MOTHER of murdered eight-year-old Hope Arismandez, Sherma Rajoon, 48, threw herself on her daughter’s sealed coffin, as pallbearers carried it to the altar of the St Mary’s RC Church, yesterday before the start of the funeral service.

  18. i may be only a child but i am sadly aware of the many muders, ruberis, raping and the list goes on and on. One of them being the very brutal mudering of little hope. i share my simpathy with her friends, family, loved ones and all those which her heart has touched.(which by description heard via the media seems alot!)Hope didn’t deserve such a painful and nasty end. i am indeed disturbed by that man’s way he treated that very innocent little girl. he is just a pure bread devil……i think i speak for the entire country when i say he should have gone through more pain and punishment before he commmited suicide….we now leave him in the hands of the lord above….he will deal with him accordingly!

  19. dis is such a damn shame, these parents need 2 b charged their children look 2 them 2 b protected from predators outside yet the parents bring the predators at home…so y aren,t they charged? what d hell she doing with a 28 yr man …shame on the parents and shame on trinidad and tobago 4 not protectin these children……REST IN PEACE HOPE

  20. what is happening? these kids done nothing to be doged out and hurt beyound words m then cut open left to die by your own, i am a trirndadian, move to the uk england, but keep up witht he news, i just dont know wgwre all the angels gone? wby husrt, why put kill, pain and tears which will last a life time this is all bloody wrong.
    monica kb singh

  21. There has got to be a policy for not letting the people that are doing life sentences at our maximum security prisons, any opportunity to get on the internet simply because of occasional visits to the St. Anns mental institution for periodic check ups. This is what the regular productive members of society have to endure- pathetic phonies pretending to be nationals when they cannot even spell the name of their alleged country.
    I still take solace in the fact that some things are working in our country however. Others parents can be spared the plight of young Hope as the likes of these miscreants – at least for a while -before some ‘fake human rights lawyer,’ snatches the title of a piece of stolen property to defend and get them back on the streets.
    “i am a trirndadian, move to the uk England.”What a joke! If England allowed characters like this into their country it is little wonder that it was once “a mighty place, many years gone by,” according to Sparrow. We now know why it is now troubled ‘Birdie.’ Perhaps it is the final recognition of their obvious folly, and like Canada, decided to implement stringent restrictive practices and demands for Visas before some of us can even set foot into their country.

  22. hope was going to my school and when i heard she has died my heart went out for her warning:parents never leave children at home always keep them safe

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