Cathleen Rahming said yesterday that there is now a void in her life after she learned that her son, Blair John, was found dead at the bottom of a river in Italy.
John, 28, was found in the river yesterday morning by Italian police, one day after his friend, Bahamian diplomat Alrae Ramsey, 29, was found in that very same river.
“It was an indescribable feeling when I got the call,” Rahming told The Nassau Guardian.
“I was crushed and in disbelief.”
As she spoke with The Nassau Guardian from her home in Treasure Cove, where John grew up, Rahming was noticeably in shock.
The only time her calm demeanor was broken was when she scrambled through several old photo albums containing childhood pictures of John.
Rahming’s tough exterior was broken by tears after she stumbled across a photo of John on the day of his christening.
“My baby,” she whispered as the tears pounded onto her cheeks.
Her mother and sister rushed to her side as they tried to console her by rubbing her shoulders and reassuring her with hugs, but they were unsuccessful.
A few minutes later, while still sobbing, the 52-year-old mother of two said she had last spoken with her son last Wednesday as he waited for a train to Turin, Italy, where he was set to present an academic paper at a psychology conference.
She said her son never got to present that paper.
“I am very disturbed,” Rahming said.
“One of my questions is what happened? Why were they targeted? Who did it? What did they gain by doing it? What has caused somebody do that to our sons? [They were] lovable guys, lovable guys, mannerly guys, never disrespectful, never. [They] loved all humanity. Color didn’t matter to my son.”
Asked if she believes John’s death was a hate crime, she said, “In my humble opinion, I can’t see any reason, any reason whatsoever for him to be attacked.
“He’s a peaceful person. He’s a sociable person. He’s an outgoing person. He’s not, I don’t see him caught up in anything negative to even cause someone to react to him that way. No, I don’t see it any other way. That’s just how I feel.”
When pressed on whether she believes it may have been racially motivated, Rahming said, “Believe it or not, I’m starting to believe that the color of his skin may have affected and caused him his ending. I cannot substantiate that but I have that gut feeling.”
At the time of his death, John was a doctoral candidate in psychology at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Canada.
According to reports in Italian media, John’s dead body was recovered yesterday morning from the river Po in Turin, Italy.
His body was recovered one day after his friend, Bahamian diplomat Alrae Ramsey, 29, was found in the same river.
An initial forensic medical examination indicated that they would’ve been in the river for two to three days, according to reports.
Turin Police Chief Giuseppe De Matteis told the Italian press that the bodies of Ramsey and John did not show signs of foul play.
“In the current state of affairs we have no reason to believe that it is a crime,” De Matteis told Torino Today.
“The wounds found on the two bodies would not have caused their death. We await the outcome of the autopsy examination which will take place quickly and later, if the causes of death are not clarified, the mobile team will proceed to further investigations.”
Rahming said her family is “deeply saddened” by the loss of John.
“There’s a void,” she told The Nassau Guardian.
“I am numbed. I’m disappointed but I understand the will of God. I was looking forward to Blair being in a position to make me proud for a very long time. I didn’t expect this. Blair has never been in trouble. I’ve never even had to spank Blair.”
During a presentation to the House of Assembly yesterday, Minister of Foreign Affairs Darren Henfield said, “Officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are in Turin today and met with the police officials.”
He said the government has been in contact with the families of John and Ramsey.
Henfield told the public to “show compassion and understanding by not jumping to conclusions and sharing speculative information widely”.
Education: Goldsmith, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice