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Justice For Laddie Foundation Calls For Inquiry into Child's Death

Last Updated: November 27, 2023

On Friday November 17th, 2023 four year old Ayana Bennett was found unresponsive by her foster mother. An examination of the child and of the injuries seen on her tiny body revealed that  little Ayana Bennet was beaten to death.

The Laddie’s Foundation wishes to express our deepest sympathy for the family of four year old Ayana Unique Bennet, who tragically died while in foster care. As stated by Kofi Annan, "There is no trust more sacred than the one the world holds with children. There is no duty more important than ensuring that their rights are respected, that their welfare is protected, that their lives are free from fear and want and that they can grow up in peace."

 Foundation Chair Lucy Fleming said,“First and foremost, we wish to offer our heartfelt sympathy for everyone touched by this tragic incident,”

“We caution against rushing to judgement until all facts are known, because at this time all that is clear is that a young child has lost her life, and we can only imagine the anguish her mother, her family, and those who knew and loved her are going through right now.

“Until we have a better understanding of the circumstances surrounding the death of little Ayana, the best we can do now is to allow the family to grieve, and then offer whatever support Laddie’s Foundation can give,” she said.

Ms Fleming explained that, while the name Laddie’s Foundation has evolved from The Justice for Laddie Foundation to better represent the Foundation’s core mission of providing opportunities for Belizean youth in education, sports, mentoring, skills development and other areas, obtaining justice for youths is still a driving force.

“After working tirelessly for so many months to obtain justice for Laddie, we know how important it is to bring a sense of closure to family, friends and the community.

“That is why we feel it is so important that a proper investigation into the circumstances surrounding the tragic death of little Ayana be conducted immediately and thoroughly,” she said.

Ms Fleming emphasised the importance of preventing similar tragedies occurring in the future.

“As we said with Laddie, seeking justice and accountability was never about vengeance or retribution, but about saving other families from going through the anguish and suffering his (our) family experienced.

“There are questions the Department of Human Services must answer about the foster care program, including the vetting process for foster homes, communication with biological families and more.

“This is why we are calling for a full investigation into all the circumstances surrounding this tragedy,” Ms Fleming said.