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Toddler drowns on beach lime

The trinidad Guardian / Thirteen hours of torment for the Gorkin and Gibbs’ families turned to grief yesterday, after they realised their own error led to the drowning death of three-year-old Messi Gorkin on a beach outing at Williams Bay, Chaguaramas on Sunday.

When little Messi went missing at the around 5 pm, his family members initially feared he had been kidnapped. In fact, according to police reports, a call was not made to the T&T Coast Guard for help until about 9.30 pm. Shortly after 6 am yesterday, little Messi’s body was found floating in the waters off Pier 1.

An autopsy conducted later at the Forensic Sciences Complex, St James, revealed the little toddler died from drowning. His lungs were filled with water.

Following the autopsy at the FSC, little Messi’s parents – Atiba Gorkin and Patrice Gibbs – were too distraught and inconsolable to talk about their only child together. Messi had two step brothers, Ajala Gorkin, 12 and Jeremiah Gibbs, seven.

Speaking with the T&T Guardian, however, Messi’s aunt Shinelle said he was one of four children among ten adults on the beach lime. She added that for years they had been on beach limes and never had a child gone missing from their sights.

“That is why we initially thought that someone would have snatched him, because the beach was very crowded. Even the maxi driver who would take the family on outings for years said that no child ever drowned under his watch, as he is very protective of the children around him,” Shinelle said.

“Whole night we thought that someone kidnapped Messi, because no way none of us thought that Messi ran back into the water. When he went missing none of us thought that we should search the water because all of us doubted that he went back in. Is only later on one of his aunts said search the water.”

Shinelle described little Messi as a “very innocent” child who had no fear of anything or anyone.

“He was a mummy’s child as he was always clinging on to his mummy. He would always be reaching to hold the hands of his mummy and daddy whenever they are around, so it was a shock to us when he just went missing,” she said.

Messi was such a sweet child, very babyish, even at three years he could not have spoken properly yet because he was very slow. He was loved by all. We are just not doing so good at all.”

Shinelle said officials at the Chaguaramas Development Authority (CDA) has promised to show them surveillance footage of the beach at the time little Messi went missing.

“We are hoping that we get further closure by this. We are just waiting patiently to see what happened on Sunday.”

Funeral arrangements are yet to be made.

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