Too young to understand that her parents and uncle were dead, a four-year-old girl assumed they were "sleeping and could not get up."
The girl and her eight-month-old brother lived with the bodies for days before their oldest sibling, 21-year-old Vishad Mohammed, made the horrific discovery at their house at Clarke Road in Penal on Thursday at about 3.30 pm.
The children were unharmed. But relatives remained baffled about the conditions the orphans endured, as well as the pungent odour of the bodies.
Yesterday the children were receiving medical care at the San Fernando General Hospital. A male relative is assisting police with the investigations.
The victims were scrap-iron and used truck parts dealer Wazir "Punkhan" Mohammed, 57, his wife Shelly-Ann Ragoonanan-Mohammed, 43, and his brother Nazim Mohammed, 52. The couple had three children.
After calls had gone unanswered since Sunday night, the driver of one of the family, 71-year-old Vijay Ramlal, picked up the eldest son to check on them. Vishad was staying with other relatives at Penal Rock Road.
On arrival he honked the horn, but no one answered, and the huge front gate was locked. Instead, the little girl came out, looking unkempt.
Ramlal said: "When I reached, the place was in a terrible condition. I reversed and parked the car, then I saw (girl’s name) came out and I asked her for her mummy. She said, ‘Mummy sleeping and she cannot get up.’ I asked about the father and she said the same thing."
Mohammed climbed over the gates and found the bodies. The back door had been broken down and there were bloodstains everywhere. The bodies were on the floor of the living room.
The two men called the police.
Ramlal cried as he recalled what happened next.
"When the police came, the children hugged me and did not want to leave me. The little one did not want to let go. The baby had on Pampers (diapers). The girl was telling police she changed the child Pampers and made food. Police found a partially opened tin of milk.
"I did not go into the house, but I saw Punkhan’s body by the door."
He said the girl, who goes to a pre-school in the area, calls him Papa.
"The baby cannot speak, but knows me well. His diaper was dirty, and she said she had changed it.
"To my knowledge, they are not involved in anything illegal. If Punkhan had any enemies, he kept it to himself.
"They were very nice to me always."
A staff member at the girl's pre-school told Newsday: "She is a star student who is very outgoing and smart. She is very helpful, and she would help out her brother. Feeding and cleaning him is something I believe she would do."
Ragoonanan-Mohammed’s brother Vijay Ragoonanan, 50, of Bunsee Trace, Penal, described her as a very quiet person. He said relatives broke the news at about 7 pm on Thursday and he did not see the bodies.
"She called and spoke to her son on Sunday at about 7 pm. He stays next door by my brother, but also lives at Clarke Road. Thank god Vishad was not there, Maybe they (the killers) would have killed him too.
"Last night he could not sleep. He kept breaking down every time he talked about it. It is very hard for him," Ragoonanan said.
Clarke Road residents said the Mohammed family was very private and hardly spoke to anyone. Earlier in the week, one neighbour said, there was a smell, but they never imagined it was that of dead bodies.
One neighbour initially believed it was a dead animal.
"I say it was maybe a dead duck, because another resident minds ducks nearby. I thought that maybe a dog dragged the carcass.
Of the Mohammeds they said, "These people do not mingle with anyone. If they have to go out, they would call a private car and the driver would pick them up and drop them off. It was when police came, we knew about it."
Another said, "They were very private. We don’t know anything about them. They kept to themselves."
An autopsy revealed Wazir had been shot twice. The killer or killers slit the throats of Wazir, his wife and brother.
Police from the Homicide Bureau Region III and Penal are investigating.