Kim­berly De Leon laid to rest

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - Joshua St. Aimee

The Mi­nor Basil­ica of the Im­mac­u­late Con­cep­tion in Cas­tries was filled to ca­pac­ity on Mon­day af­ter­noon as mourn­ers gath­ered to bid farewell to Kim­berly De Leon, who was shot dead at her home on Chef Harry Drive, Morne For­tune, on 30 Oc­to­ber. In at­ten­dance were for­mer work col­leagues from Kim­berly's stints at the Cus­toms De­part­ment, Min­istry of Health and the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion, as well as gov­ern­ment min­is­ters Gale Rigob­ert and Mary Isaac. Also present were class­mates from the Cas­tries Com­pre­hen­sive Sec­ondary School class of '95, and rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Car­men Rene Memo­rial School, at­tended by her two young chil­dren.

In his tribute, Kim­berly's father Wor­rel St. Ange, who has for sev­eral years resided in the United States, re­called the last time he spoke to her, say­ing they made plans to or­gan­ise a fam­ily out­ing on his next visit to Saint Lu­cia. He said he asked her at the time whether her divorce and child cus­tody bat­tle had gone through.

“So my next ques­tion,” said St. Ange, “was what are you still do­ing liv­ing in the house? There's too much ten­sion liv­ing in a house with a man you're di­vorc­ing; it doesn't make any sense, you got to go.

"So at the end of the con­ver­sa­tion I said, 'I love you to death.'”

Mr. St. Ange said Kim­berly had her sad mo­ments but she would never show them. She was able to bal­ance home and work, never bring­ing her prob­lems from home to her job. “What I think she didn't know,” he con­tin­ued “was how to sep­a­rate her­self from the abuse she was go­ing through. She was pretty cool at putting that fa­cade on her face. She would be smil­ing at work but deep in her heart she was un­happy, but she never showed it.”

He urged all women in at­ten­dance not to tol­er­ate any man who abuses them, whether men­tally, phys­i­cally or emo­tion­ally.

In clos­ing, he stated: “She's dead. What we have to do now, we all got to move on.” Fight­ing back tears, he paused. “Af­ter to­day you will never see her again. All you're go­ing to have are me­mories of her. She's gone, for­ever. Don't think you're go­ing to see her again, it's over. Kim­berly's dead. Now, we seek jus­tice.”

His tribute ended abruptly when Kim­berly's mother col­lapsed and had to be trans­ported out of the cathe­dral on a stretcher. She was taken to hos­pi­tal and re­leased the fol­low­ing day.

Kim­berly was in­terred at the Choc ceme­tery in Cas­tries. There have been no ar­rests in con­nec­tion with her death. Mean­while sources close to Sergeant De Leon say that al­though Kim­berly had started divorce pro­ceed­ings, “they had not gone very far”.

On Mon­day, be­fore a packed cathe­dral, Kim­berly De Leon’s father, Wor­rel St. Ange, re­called their last con­ver­sa­tion.

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