Members of a family who were preparing to belatedly celebrate their matriarch’s 92nd birthday this weekend are now gearing up for her burial.
Maybel Chambers, better known as Miss May, died under dubious circumstances yesterday afternoon, August 12, across from the old post office in her native Top Hill district, Lluidas Vale Division, St. Catherine.
Speculations are rife that she may have died as a result of electrocution or a fall on a hilly roadside, where there is a shortcut leading to her residence.
A post mortem is yet to be done to ascertain the actual cause of death; the police also have launched an investigation.
Men and women wept last evening at the rain-drenched scene, where more than one hundred people converged. Many of them were at a grave-digging elsewhere in the community when they got the bad news.
Miss May met her demise apparently while she was walking from a shop towards her home. Her walking stick, along with a white plastic bag containing food items, was beside her corpse.
She was lying on her back beside a Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) utility pole, from which electrical wires dangled.
One of the wires was seen wrapped partly around the woman’s neck; the end part of it was in her mouth.
That observation left irate residents accusing JPS of negligence; it also fueled speculation that Miss May perhaps was electrocuted.
Residents said the dangling wires occasionally emit sparks of fire – and even shocked a man in recent times. However, The Beacon does not know if that matter was reported to the power company.
JPS employees went to the scene last night and got rid of the loosely hanging wires that made contact with Miss May. They did so before the body was removed about 10:30PM – some seven hours after it first was seen.
An area resident, who requested anonymity, told The Beacon that, when he went to the scene, he saw a few people there. He said he suffered an electric shock when he touched Miss May in an effort to assist her.
”The current start shock mi tuh,” the man said, adding that he is lucky to be alive.
In the meantime, Miss May’s tearful helper, Patricia Cummings, was a picture of disbelief as she paced up and down the scene.
She said: “I started working with her on the 17th of March this year, and I found her to be a quite nice person. She is not miserable; she is kind; she treats me like her own; she called me her grand-daughter.”
Cummings, in recounting her last moments with Miss May, told The Beacon that she left the senior citizen at home and went to Kellits to purchase an item for herself. She stated that, when she returned home about 11:15AM, Miss May was watching television.
The helper, who recalled that Miss May left home about 12:30PM, said: “I was telling her not to go on the road, but she insisted that she was going.”
Cummings said she became concerned when Miss May did not return home by late afternoon, and so she telephoned one of the late woman’s relatives to ascertain her whereabouts. The relative had no answer.
“Mi change mi clothes to a cleaner clothes to go and search for her (Miss May). That’s when I got the news that she died,” the helper said.
Meanwhile, one of Miss May’s former neighbours, David Prince, said he was on his way to visit the senior citizen when he saw the crowd. He later saw Miss May dead on the ground.
Remembering Miss May, Prince said: “She was a good lady who tek care of all the children. She offer everybody food – and she can cook. The area is mourning for her; she was a good lady; she was active in farming – in everything. When it comes to doing good in the community, she was always there for everyone.”
The Author: Horace Mills holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Media and Communications from CARIMAC – University of the West Indies. He is the recipient of various awards, including the prestigious FairPlay Award and the Prime Minister’s National Youth Award For Excellence In Journalism. Mills worked as News Editor in the British Virgin Islands, and as Senior Journalist in both radio and print media. During his teenage years, Mills was a Correspondent for Teen Herald, and Editor of The Eagle – a publication at Charlemont High School, where Mills also served as Head Boy. He is a journalist at heart.
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