The father and sister of the 11-year-old New Jersey girl found stabbed to death a day after she vanished from her home have missed the girl’s funeral, as pleas to be allowed into the country fell on deaf ears.
AbbieGail “Abbie” Smith’s sister, Kenisha Smith, told reporters that she and her father, Kenroy Smith, had their applications for temporary U.S. visas denied, preventing the pair from traveling from Jamaica to say goodbye.
Kenroy Smith was deported from the United States following a marijuana arrest in 2001, but Kenisha Smith said she wasn’t told why her application was rejected, according to The Associated Press.
The 50-year-old father broke down in tears as he begged to be allowed in the country, telling the New York Daily News: “I want to see my daughter for the last time, please, one last time before she goes down into the earth.”
Abbie was buried Monday, almost two weeks after her body was discovered on a roof at the Hancock Arms Apartments in Keansburg.
She and her mother had moved into the complex only months earlier.
Officials said Abbie’s body was found wrapped in a comforter and bedsheet. She was wearing little clothing, was bound by a computer cord and had died from a fatal stab wound to the neck, authorities said.
Her upstairs neighbor, 18-year-old Andreas Erazo, was ordered held in jail without bail Wednesday as prosecutors said he confessed to killing the girl.
Assistant Monmouth County Prosecutor Diane Aifer said that when investigators confronted Erazo with their findings, he allegedly admitted to stabbing Abbie, NJ.com reported.
But his public defenders, Courtney Schneider and Michael Wicke, said Erazo’s statement was not a confession and reportedly plan to challenge the admissibility and the legality of the findings of the nine-hour interrogation.
Several members of Abbie’s family were in the courtroom, with many wearing T-shirts bearing her picture and the words “Gone too soon. AbbieGail Smith.”
Abbie’s father took to social media to express his desire to sit in court, writing on Facebook: “Now my people just tell me do you all think I should have the right to go represent for my daughter … I can just imagine how she tried to fight for life and there was no father to be there for her.”