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National T&T footballer Marvin Phillip and his wife, Lesley Ann Halls, will say their final goodbyes today to their ten-month-old son who died at a daycare centre in Chaguanas last week. Baby Matai Joshua Cameron Phillip will be buried today at the Gasparillo cemetery after a service at the Gasparillo RC Church, Caratal Road.

 The child died after being taken to the Anointed Angels daycare centre at Edinburgh 500, Chaguanas. An autopsy showed he died from positional asphyxia. This happens when a person cannot get enough air to breathe owing to the positioning of his/her body. Phillip returned to Trinidad on Saturday from Brazil to bury his son the day before the Soca Warriors were to meet Iran in an international friendly.

Saying Matai’s death was the worst ordeal he had ever experienced, Phillip said he would leave no stone unturned to find out what had happened. “We are hearing a lot of contradicting stories. It is not a good feeling to hear your young baby is dead. I would not wish this on my worst enemy,” Phillip said. He also said he was confident there would be no cover-up. 

“I have been assured by the authorities that this matter will be thoroughly investigated so I don’t believe there will be a cover-up,” Phillip said. He added that he and Halls were planning to celebrate the baby’s first birthday on August 2. He added that Matai was a healthy child and it was heartbreaking to live without ever again seeing him smile. Baby Matai was the third child to have died last week. 

He was dropped off at the daycare centre around 6.15 am and died an hour later. The owner, Pauline Maloney, said Matai was crying and was put in a car seat where it is believed he suffocated on the straps. On June 1, Kriston Gonzales, 22 months, drowned in a pond at Mayaro. Jemimah Agard, five, drowned in a pool at the Young Men’s Christian Association, Port-of-Spain, a day later during a school outing.

Autopsy: Baby choked on car seat straps
By Jensen La Vende (T&T Guardian)


Ten-month old Maitai Phillip died from positional asphyxiation, his autopsy report revealed yesterday. The last-born son of national goalkeeper Marvin Phillip was pronounced dead at the Chaguanas Health Facility on Friday morning less than two hours after he was dropped off at the Anointed Angels daycare at Edinburgh 500, Chaguanas. The T&T Guardian was informed that police seized the car seat in which the child was placed  at the daycare the day he died.

His autopsy report stated the because of the slouched position the child was in he was able to reach the straps on the car seat with his mouth which blocked off his trachea causing him to asphyxiate. Relatives of the child visited the Forensic Science Centre, St James, on Friday but was told to return yesterday. When they did, the relatives were told they would have to wait until after 2 pm when all other autopsies for the day had been completed. 

The relatives, which included Phillip, who returned from Brazil on Saturday, and the child's mother Lesley-Ann Halls received the report just after 5 pm yesterday. The child’s grandfather, Lincoln Halls, told the media on Friday he dropped off Maitai around 6.15 am at the daycare. He said Maitai was not in the car seat because his wife was holding the child. Just after 7 am Maitai’s grandmother Gemma Ottley was called and told to go to the Chaguanas Health Facility as the child was unresponsive. 

Officials at the daycare told police that after receiving Maitai he was placed in the car seat.  Some time later he seemed to be asleep so the caregiver went to put him in the crib and noticed he was not breathing. The caregiver, who is trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), tried to revive Maitai but was unable to do so. Emergency Health Services (EHS) were called in and took Matai to the Chaguanas Health Facility, where he was pronounced dead some time after. 

Cpl Barrow of the Chaguanas CID is continuing investigations.