Danielle Rowe’s story has traveled beyond Jamaica’s shores as people try to understand the motive behind the eight-year-old’s murder and authorities attempt to catch the perpetrator. The latest chapter in Danielle’s narrative involved chaos during her memorial service. Images of her casket covered with a Jamaican flag stuck with a knife and smeared with red paint suggestive of blood spatter shocked the Caribbean nation. 

Danielle Rowe was abducted from her school and found dumped with her throat slashed

Danielle Rowe was taken from Braeton Primary and Infant School on 8th June 2023 by an unknown person. Danielle was found near the National Stadium, bleeding from a slashed throat but still alive. She was rushed to Bustamante Hospital for Children, where medical personnel tried desperately to save her life. Unfortunately, Danielle succumbed to her injuries on 10th June 2023. 

Danielle’s mother said she couldn’t believe her daughter was missing. “I never expected it to happen to me,” she told nationwideradiojm.com. She told the outlet that she rushed to Danielle’s school barefoot, where she refuted suggestions that Danielle had gone to a friend’s house. “I don’t know what led to this crime,” Danielle’s mom said. “I don’t know.” 

Danielle’s father, Noval Rowe, spoke during his daughter’s memorial service, saying he last saw her on 16th May 2023, her birthday. Noval described Danielle as an angel, ‘the most loving person’ he knew. He urged people to stop spreading rumors and false speculation about the crime. He stated:

“My daughter did not deserve this. She did not deserve it. There are a whole lot of speculations and a whole lot of rumors. Some are absolutely disgusting and repulsive statements that have been made. Whosoever took my daughter’s life took someone who wanted to be a vet.”

Education minister Fayval Williams lamented that police efforts had not yielded answers. “The anger and hurt are compounded by the fact that we do not yet have answers, despite the many efforts and work of the security forces,” Fayval said. 

Authorities suspect the killer was someone Danielle knew and trusted

Police Commissioner Major General Anthony Anderson theorized that Danielle’s killer was someone she knew and trusted. “Let me assure you that this case is a high priority for us as we continue the investigations. We still believe the perpetrator was known to Danielle, and once again ask the public for their assistance in identifying the person,” the Police Commissioner said, per Radio Jamaica News

Major General Anderson said in the four instances since the start of 2023 where children under 12 years were murdered, ‘the perpetrators were known to the victims and in positions of trust’. “No child should be murdered,” he added. 

Jamaica’s Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, pleaded with people to provide any information about Danielle’s murder. Speaking on the National Day of Mourning for Children, Holness stated that Jamaicans should not allow murderers to prey on the young and vulnerable. He stated:

“If you saw something, I urge you, say something, we cannot allow this murder to go unsolved. The person or persons who committed this crime could very well commit other crimes, and we cannot tell who the next victim could be.”

The Prime Minister reminded citizens that they have legal obligations to protect children: “By definition, our children are vulnerable and are unable to protect themselves and that is why under the law, anyone who has knowledge of children being abused, groomed or otherwise in any form of danger must report it to the police.”

The chaos during Danielle’s funeral was allegedly caused by government interference

Apostle Yvette Thomas claimed that government interference sparked chaos during Danielle’s funeral. Thomas said the family had insisted that no politician speak at the event. However, the family was informed of a schedule change to incorporate government officials minutes before the service started. Danielle’s family delayed the service, protesting the alleged politicizing of Danielle’s murder. 

The government released a statement claiming that Fayval Williams, the Minister of Education, was the only government official who participated in the event. “No other person from the government was engaged in the funeral,” the government said. 

Another reason for the chaos was the stained Jamaican flag covering Danielle’s casket. “The police brought it to my attention that the chaplain wanted to talk to me about what was happening,” a police source told The Jamaica Observer. “He expressed some concern that they had desecrated the Jamaican flag and it is not something they wanted to be a part of the funeral.”