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Romelu Amani Drakes

The autopsy on little Romelu Amani Drakes, who drowned in a pool at his Couva school earlier this week, has been shifted to the Forensic Science Centre, St James, for next week.

On Wednesday, his parents were told the autopsy would have been done at the San Fernando mortuary yesterday to accommodate COVID-19 testing. When they turned up yesterday, however, they were told their son’s body was being taken to the FSC. A senior police officer said a decision was taken to have the autopsy done at the FSC “for safety.”

Romelu’s mother Regine Phillip dropped him off at the Ethos Speech Therapy School for Children in Couva around 9 am on Tuesday and went to work. When her sister went to pick him up around 12.15 pm, she was kept waiting for about 15 minutes. She was then called inside and told that he fell into the pool and they tried to resuscitate him. The aunt, accompanied by the school’s owner Alicia Bharratt, took the unconscious child to the Couva District Health Facility. He was pronounced dead at 2.50 pm.

The entrance to the above-ground pool from the schoolyard is through a plyboard gate. Romelu, who had been attending the school for the past eight months, would have turned three on April 23. The special need school, which reportedly has a student population of 18, is neither registered nor affiliated with the Ministry of Education, Minister Ryan Gadsby-Dolly said in a statement on Thursday. In addition, all schools remain closed under current COVID-19 protocols and only secondary school students preparing for certain exams are currently being allowed in-person schooling.

The school has not reopened since the incident.

Romelu’s father Shion Drakes said no explanation was given to them about why the autopsy now has to be done at the FSC. He has neither been contacted by the school officials nor the police investigating his son’s death. Couva police and Homicide investigators are involved in the investigation.