Mother searching for answers after daughter killed at sea
MIAMI (WSVN) -- A Haitian mother has been left heartbroken and is asking for answers after, officials believe, her teenage daughter died during a smuggling operation.
Her daughter, 24-year-old Judith Valentine, had dreams of becoming a nurse and getting married, so she boarded a boat that was heading to Florida, but she would not make it off that boat alive. Her mother is now mourning her loss. "I'm asking for justice," said the mother in Creole, speaking through an interpreter.
The mother lost her first child in the catastrophic earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010. "I have seven children, during the earthquake I already lost one," she said.
Last month, Valentin's body washed ashore in West Palm Beach. She was trying to escape Haiti, treading in dangerous waters on a boat in search of a new life. "She was on her way here, we heard, we don't have all the details, but we heard that she was gang raped," said the mother in tears.
The victim's mother will be getting a temporary visa to say her final goodbyes. Her daughter ripped out of her life forever and now, she wants answers. "I don't know if they threw her overboard or not, but her face was all broken and mashed up," said the mother.
A group of migrants who were on the boat may know what happened. "Other people who were on the boat, they saw her when she was coming on the boat, and then they saw her crying and praying, and they are the ones who called and told others what happened," the mother said.
The victim's mother is struggling to get her questions answered.
Asked if there some investigation or someone on this actively at all. The interpreter said, "That's what we don't know."
ICE officials said the investigation into the smuggling is ongoing, but could not say if the other migrant passengers are still in the country.
Valentin will be laid to rest this Saturday.
(Copyright 2013 by Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)