What to Know
- Eleven-year-old Abbiegail Smith died from a stab wound to the neck, the medical examiner has ruled
- Her father, who lives in Jamaica, is begging the U.S. government to allow him into the country for a week for her funeral
- Abbiegail's older sister, who also lives in Jamaica, was denied entry into the U.S. this week
The Jamaican family members of an 11-year-old New Jersey girl whose stabbed body was found earlier this month are pleading with President Trump for permission to enter the U.S. for her funeral next week, according to reports.
The family says they fear this is their last chance to say goodbye to Abbiegail Smith. Smith’s body was found on the roof of a building behind her home on the morning of July 13.
In a video provided to APP.com, Abbiegail’s father, Kenroy Smith, tearfully asked the president to intervene so that he and Abbiegail’s older sister, Kenish, can attend Monday’s funeral. Kenish’s visa application was rejected Wednesday by the U.S. Embassy in Kingston, Jamaica, according to APP.com.
“My dear little Abbiegail was taken away and I need to pay my last respects to her,” Kenroy told APP.com through tears. “Every time I close my eyes, I see her in front of me playing.”
“Who’s going to stand up for us?” Kenish told APP.com. “We have no control. We can’t do it on our own.”
Kenroy said he’d find out Friday if he’d be allowed to enter the U.S. for his daughter’s funeral. In 2001, he was deported from the U.S. to Jamaica following a marijuana arrest, according to APP.com.
Latisha Smith, a sister of Abbiegail who lives in Maryland, told APP.com she’s been busy every day writing emails to elected officials. “I’m not stopping until they’re here,” she said.
Latisha said Abbiegail often went to Jamaica to visit with her father.
Abbiegail’s burial will take place Monday after Mass at St. Ann’s Church in Keansburg.
Her death has been ruled a homicide by the medical examiner. She was taking trash out to the dumpster at her Keansburg apartment complex when she vanished on the night of July 12, authorities said. Her mother reported her missing an hour later.
The following morning, Abbiegail's body was found partially clothed and wrapped in a comforter on a roof behind the building where she lived, law enforcement sources tell News 4. The sources said her hands had been bound.
An upstairs neighbor, 18-year-old Andreas Erazo, was arrested on murder and weapons charges in the killing.
Erazo hung his head and said nothing during his first court appearance last Friday. The girl's mother, a nurse, said to him at the end of the proceeding, "I hope you rot in jail. My one and only daughter. Rot in jail."
Erazo is being held in jail without bail. If convicted of murder, he faces a minimum of 30 years in prison without parole and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
Investigators questioned several people in Abbiegail's death before arresting Erazo. Another neighbor told News 4 he was suspicious about a building resident he saw talking to Smith Wednesday before she vanished. It's not clear if that man is Erazo.
Latisha said her father Kenroy has been in anguish since hearing of his daughter’s death.
"I’m just asking you please, I want to know why he killed my child. I want to see where he took her. I want to see where he stabbed her. I want to see where he dumped her," he told APP.com.