[UPDATED] 'MY BABY DIED A HERO,' says mum of girl, 11, mauled to death

Rachel Bhagwandeen
Rachel Bhagwandeen

Without hesitation and in the face of death, 11-year-old Rachel Bhagwandeen protected her nine-year-old brother from the wrath of a dog on Thursday in Vistabella, San Fernando.

The dog, a mixed breed American Bull/ American Bully dog, mauled the petite girl inside the bedroom of the family's home at Solomon Street. The student of the Vistabella Presbyterian School was set to write the Secondary Entrance Assessment examination next year.

She lived in Freeport with his parents and three siblings. She was visiting extended family when tragedy struck around 11 am.

Rachel and her brother Jaylon were watching television and the dog, Buddy, walked into the room.

Mother and Father of 11-year-old Rachel Bhagwandeen, Seema and Kelvin Bhagwandeen, mourn her death after she was killed by a dog at a Solomon Street, Vistabella, home on Thursday. - ANGELO MARCELLE

Rachel pushed Jaylon to the door and told him to run for his life. Relatives said she also told him that "she will take it."

Jaylon ran and alerted mother Seema Bhagwandeen and other relatives who were nearby.

A relative also saw the dog heading into the house and told Bhagwandeen.

Simultaneously, the relative tried calling Rachel's cell phone to tell her to lock the door. As the mother rushed to the house, her weeping son was heading towards her.

As Bhagwandeen waited for the police to remove the body, she was inconsolable. She hugged Jaylon and repeatedly told him that Rachel was a hero and an angel in heaven.

Between sobs, Bhagwandeen recalled that she was sitting near Rachel and did not notice when she got up and left.

"Rachel pushed her brother. He ran out crying and told me that Rachel got bite up (sic). I saw my baby girl with her hands stretched, saying 'Mummy, Mummy,' and I could not do anything. The dog was shaking her like a rag doll. I started to kick the dog for it to bite me instead," Bhagwandeen said.

Rachel was speaking faintly, she recalled.

"I do not know how it happened. I do not know if the dog jumped the gate and followed her inside."

The family has three houses on the property in Vistabella.

The deadly attack happened after the dog got out of his kennel, passed the gate of the back property and entered the middle property.

The dog owner, Bhagwandeen'S nephew, had left the house moments earlier.

The ordeal lasted a few minutes until the dog's owner returned and secured the dog.

"My big brother (Mastry Sooklalsingh) went in first to try to save Rachel. The dog started to attack him. Then, I went in and saw the dog shaking my baby."

"It was an accident. I understand that because I know that my family would not harm my child. She grew up here, so the dogs are supposed to know her. I do not want anyone to say this was intentional. This is no one fault."

The mother of four pleaded with the public not to attack her family.

Bhagwandeen said, "Do not make harsh comments. I do not want any negative comments toward my family, please.

The home on Solomon Street, Vistabella, San Fernando where Rachel Bhagwandeen, 11, was killed by her family member's dog on Thursday. - ANGELO MARCELLE

"I am a child of God, and I know God will give me the strength to go on. I know God is in control."

She described her child as "bright" and as someone who loved to look nice.

Bhagwandeen said, "We went to church last night. After church, Rachel said, 'Mummy, I am going away to live, and I would carry you and daddy.' That was her dream."

Bhagwandeen and her husband, Kelvin Bhagwandeen, have two other children, 21 and 15.

Bhagwandeen visits the family every Thursday because she takes her teenage son for lessons in San Fernando.

They usually return to Fairview Park, Freeport, at midday.

Sooklalsingh, 62, who first tried to save Rachel, recounted the horrific scene. The dog, he said, had never attacked anyone before.

"When I bounced in the bedroom and saw the child, tears came out. I was scared of the dog too, and the dog would not let her go," Sooklalsingh said.

"The dog left the child and started to run me down. It turned around at the front door and went back to finish what it was doing. I could not do anything because the dog is stronger than me. That dog is aggressive. It was not when it was a puppy. I live here, and I am afraid of that dog."

He said the dog, and another similar one, Bubba, had been living on the property for the past two years.

He believes breeds like Pitbull, Rottweiler, American Bully and American Bull dogs should be kept away from children.

To dog owners, he said, "Those are vicious dogs and sometimes turn on their owners."

The dog was still alive up to late Thursday. But police said the dog is expected to be put down.

Insp Morales, Sgt Nanan and other Marabella police visited the scene.

This story was originally published with the title "Freeport girl, 11, killed by dog in Vistabella " and has been adjusted to include additional details. See original post below.

An 11-year-old girl was mauled to death by a dog on Thursday morning while visiting relatives in Vistabella, San Fernando.

Rachel Bhagwandeen, of Freeport, died in the house at Solomon Street.

Relatives said she was watching television in the house with her younger brother, Jaylon, nine, when a mixed American Bully dog walked into the house at around 11 am.

A relative recalled: "She (Rachel) told him (Jaylon) to run, (saying) 'she will take it.'"

Jaylon ran and alerted relatives who were nearby.

The dog, Buddy, attacked and killed the child, who was a student of the Vistabella Presbyterian School.

Police are still on the scene.

Relatives attempt to console Seema Bhagwandeen whose 11-year-old daughter Rachel Bhagwandeen was killed by a mixed American bully dog at Solomon Street, Vistabella on Thursday morning. Rachel is from Freeport but was visiting relatives. pic.twitter.com/TCxDXG82RD


"[UPDATED] ‘MY BABY DIED A HERO,’ says mum of girl, 11, mauled to death"

More in this section