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Jūrmalā par vienaudža noduršanu aizdomās turētais pusaudzis skolu klātienē šogad neapmeklēs

Jūrmala faces aftermath of teenage murder

Schoolchildren, teachers and parents at Mežmala Secondary School in Jūrmala mourn a Year 6 pupil named Maksims whose life was taken last week at the hands of his peer. Police are especially vigilant in the aftermath of the harrowing crime, Latvian Television reported on Monday, January 15.

This murder is an extraordinarily tragic event – both the murderer and the victim are only 13 years old.

The victim Maksims attended Mežmala Secondary School and lived with his mom. School mates and staff are remembering him with love.

“A happy child! Maksims was very sweet, nice. Very responsible. He always came forward. I've known him since pre-school,“ said school nurse Vita Vasiļjeva.

Vasiļjeva's daughter is the same age as Maksims. Now, as a member of the parents' council, she has undertaken to raise donations to the boy's family for the funeral and support. In the last few days, now and then a child or teacher comes into the nurse's office and brings money.

At the school, it is unusually quiet.

“How can anyone feel safe? A child has been killed on the street in Jūrmala! It's incomprehensible, I don't have words. I feel anxiety and fear. And as a mom, I am now scared to let the child go to class,” Vasiļjeva said.

Meanwhile, Sarmīte Grope, head of the children's and young people's home Sprīdītis where the perpetrator lived, said he was back there. His parents have had their care rights taken away. Grope is the guardian of him and over a dozen others.

“And it is certain that he will not return to school this year,” Grope added. 

After the murder, silence also reigns in Sprīdītis. Although a crisis team has worked here, the teenager still doesn't speak to anyone.

Grope said: “He is in a kind of bubble. He feels everyone is distancing themselves from him. A psychologist works with him. And education [will continue] in the distance learning process. The shock situation is not just for those involved but for everyone. They call this their home and they go through what people say about their home, that all evil comes from their home."

Grope said it wasn't easy. All inhabitants have had their baggage – they have experienced various types of violence. Adoptive parents have also abandoned one. The feeling that you're not needed by those closest to you turns into aggression against the whole world.

Grope said: "Yes, we have episodes of drinking alcohol. And intoxication. And there are situations where we call the Emergency Medical Service. But with each, there's an individual approach. And it's important to build attachment. A year ago, a child came in, already 16, who had frequented Origo [the Rīga Central Station], and he passed on that skill to the younger ones [..], wandering around, stealing, substance use. And that situation was that once again they came from Origo under the influence of alcohol and that conflict unfolded."

The care facility also receives threats after the murder.

Grope said: "There is an external threat from the public. It's important to us that revenge moves don't occur. Now we must also protect these children from the outside environment."

The facility is now guarded by municipal police crews on standby outside it every night.

Everyone involved in the fight knew each other and even were friends. Police are now clarifying why an argument broke out that ended in death.

The children of Sprīdītis are educated in both general schools and special programs. Since the stabber is 13, he cannot be tried or punished. All responsibility lies with the head of the Sprīdītis institution.

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