FOR days, relatives of Joshua Alexander, who drowned in St Anthony’s pool on Morne Coco Road, Diego Martin on April 22, were unaware that he was missing, let alone dead.
Speaking to Newsday at the Forensic Science Centre in St James on Wednesday, his family said they only realised something was amiss when a family friend contacted them to say there had been a drowning and that it might have been Alexander.
Relatives explained that Alexander, 18, lived with his grandmother Virginia at Four Roads in Diego Martin. She is a caretaker who looks after an elderly person. His mother, Lisa, a security officer by night and an employee at a restaurant by day, lives in St James, because it is easier for her to get transport to work from there. An elder brother is married and lives in Port of Spain while a younger brother lives in Tunapuna with his father.
Relatives added that Alexander's biological father died in an accident some years ago, and the man who spoke on Tuesday to Newsday, Mark Alexander, is a close male relative who had become a father figure to Alexander.
Lisa said the last time she saw her son was on Monday April 20, when they went to get groceries. Afterwards, she tried calling him during that week. “His phone was not working well, so when I called and did not get through, I thought it was because of his phone,” she said. “I tried calling my brother and mother to try and reach Joshua, but I did not get through to them either.
"I continued calling all through the week but I still wasn’t getting through, so I decided to visit him the first chance that I got, because I had to give him some money anyway. So yesterday (Tuesday April 28) I decided to go and meet him and that was when I got the news.”
Relatives described Joshua as a quiet and reclusive person. They said while he was at school at Mucurapo East Secondary, his mother began taking issue with the friends he kept and stopped him from liming with them. But over the past month, he began socialising once again with the friends.
Relatives described Alexander as a “night owl” who would frequently spend all day sleeping in order to stay up late at night in his bedroom, browsing the internet. His grandmother explained that Alexander's sleeping habits were one reason she did not notice that he was missing for several days.
“He would only come out of his room to bathe, so when I didn’t see him, I didn’t take it on. All he would do at home was stay in his room and sleep,” the grandmother said. Alexander's mother added that he had a history of slipping out of the house unannounced.
She recalled that about three weeks ago, around the same time government ordered beaches and rivers to be off-limit as part of covid19 restrictions, the police called her one morning at about 2 am, to say Joshua was found skinny-dipping at a beach. No one in the family, she said, knew that he had left home for the beach. Relatives said although he was not a good swimmer, he loved the water.
“I spoke to him and told him he could not do those sort of things,” the mother said. “I said, 'You don’t know what could possibly happen.' I didn’t expect him to do something like that again.”
On Wednesday April 22, Alexander is believed to have been among a group of four boys who jumped the fence of St Anthony’s pool. However, when he got into difficulties, the other boys panicked and fled. Police said screams alerted two passers-by, who forced their way into the grounds, but by then it was too late and they found Alexander at the bottom of the pool at about 5.45 pm.
At the time Alexander was found, police said, he was unidentified and when no one reported him missing, they tried to trace his identity via fingerprints. When this did not work, officers went to Morne Coco Road and spoke with residents to see if anyone knew the boy who had drowned in the pool. They said that only on Tuesday April 28 was Alexander's body identified by his mother.
Relatives lamented that in the week since Alexander's death, not one of his friends who were at the pool had come forward to explain what happened. They also thought it strange no one saw fit to try and rescue Alexander or alert someone else. An autopsy yesterday confirmed Alexander had drowned.