I don’t know Vanessa Kirkland. I don’t know her family. And I certainly don’t know exactly happened on Tuesday night. What I do know is that a 16-year-old girl is dead, a high school student who was preparing to sit exams, and whose future stretched out ahead of her, full of potential and possibility.
There’s an empty space in her house this morning, her bed not slept in, her school uniforms not worn, her notes for exams never to be used. Reports are that Vanessa had recently taken graduation photographs. When they arrive, there’ll be no girlish giggling over them. Instead, there’s a good chance those photographs will only be greeted with tears.
Her mother has lost a daughter, and her siblings, a sister, in a manner that must be hard to accept. The future her mother dreamed of for her no longer exists. We grieve with her, and we know it could be us. Today fi you, tomorrow fi me.
And although we don’t know precisely what happened, the circumstances under which Vanessa died and the disjointed “PRELIMINARY REPORT” are sufficiently cloudy and questionable to raise inevitable feelings of mistrust and anger. This is where Independent Commissioner of Investigations (INDECOM) Commissioner Terrence Williams’ complaint about the inability to get ballistics tests done speedily must raise renewed concern.
Because the least we can do now for Vanessa is to insist on a speedy and effective investigation. Let her mother, and the country, know exactly what happened. She deserves that much.