What the Murdered Teen, Tiffany Gayle Means to Me…

Photo Courtesy: City News

 Tiffany was a teen who used to live in my neighborhood until few years ago. She was beautiful, full of life and only fifteen. In 2010, Tiffany was beaten to death by her parents at her own home. 

Her name was Tiffany Gayle…

Born and raised in Jamaica, Tiffany lived with her biological mother until she turned fourteen.  Her Dad, Frederick Gayle in 2010 offered to bring Tiffany to Canada where he was living with his wife Elizabeth Gayle, at the time.

 Tiffany said goodbye to her Mom and was off to live with her Dad and Step mom and their children.

 From that point on, Tiffany lived one more year.

A year of beating, harassment and brutality she suffered at the hands of her own parents- her Dad and Step Mother- the people whom she trusted to protect her, love her and help her blossom into a beautiful person that she would have been if she was given a chance to live.

Tiffany was a student at Fletcher’s Meadow Secondary School at the time of her death.

Her class mates would say that Tiffany was very reserved and always kept things to herself. If Tiffany was subjected to beatings by her Dad and Step-Mother, she never showed or mentioned it to anyone at school. So, no one ever knew the horrible conditions that she endured at ‘home’. Instead of calling for help, Tiffany used note pads to write about what is going on with her.

“I hate to see my parents angry but I guess there is nothing I can do because all I have ever done is cause pain in the family,” – This was written in one of the note pads that was found by the police in a chest of drawers in her parents’ bedroom.

Tiffany blamed herself for making her parents angry, causing them to beat her up. She took the pain that was inflicted on her relentlessly and her grief was unseen by anyone till her death. She was not allowed to use the house phone, so she borrowed her friend’s phone at school to talk and text to her biological Mother at Jamaica. In the last contact she had with her Mother, Tiffany said that she is going to be send back to Jamaica.

But it never happened. Instead, two days after, Tiffany died a horrible death at her house. A beautiful life came to an end… 

This news caught my attention for two reasons.

First, I learned that Tiffany lived just a few blocks away from my house.

So this tragedy really hit home when I thought about the possibilities of having seen her or ran into her on my countless trips to stores and parks and the walks I took around the vicinity. 

If I had known Tiffany while she was alive and be friends with her, would there have been a chance that I could have turned her fate around? I could almost feel that helpless little girl yearning to open her heart to someone in her hopes to be saved from the impending doom…

You would probably be thinking, how can I empathize with Tiffany this way to the point of completely feeling the pain that she went through in her short life?

That brings me to my second reason for writing about Tiffany today.

I was also subjected to horrible beatings at a young age.

And my Mother was responsible for it.

She used to beat me up on a regular basis.  And I was scared of what could set her off All. The. Time. Some incidents from this phase of my life are still fresh in my mind.. 

Like the time she came after me with a sharp knife in hand for a swipe and I ran for my dear life..

Like the time when she came out of no where with a big broom and start hitting me left, right and centre while I was still getting up from my bed in the morning…I was so defenseless, bewildered and was still trying to figure out what did I do to make her mad so early in the day..

Like the time she dragged me down through the driveway of our house to the pond in our backyard and dumped me in the ice cold water, fully clothed. I remember struggling to resurface and trying to breathe and the weight of my cloths pulling me down. I did not know how to swim and she knew it.

I remember a picture of my Mother standing very still on the curb and watching me with certain coldness. I still shiver at the calling of death in her eyes and for one second, I thought that I am really going to die in the pond that day. 

I was only eleven and still small and I did not want to die so soon. I guess my Mother also thought the same and in the next second, she reached and pulled me out of the cool grips of the water…Jeez… how can I forget that near-death experience?

 So you see, I relate so well with Tiffany.

 The only difference between us is that she didn’t make it out and I did.

The only difference is that she became a Martyr and I became a Survivor who remained to tell this story.

Canadians celebrated Canada Day yesterday. We are all proud to belong to this country where everyone is welcome to make their home and living and carve a beautiful future for themselves and their descendants.

I am sure, Tiffany’s Mom also dreamed of a future  for her daughter.

A dream in which Tiffany played the most important role of creating a wonderful life for herself … a dream of pursuing her goals and ambitions and finally find a family of her own…yes, she would have done all this if she was alive…

 Three years later, when Tiffany’s parents are convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to Life in Prison, I hope that Tiffany is finally at peace… that she is happy wherever she is and she is loved by people around her. No more beatings, no more sadness. Just love.

                                                                  Happy Canada Day Tiffany!


                        …Please know that you will be missed and never   be forgotten …




  1. What a tragic, tragic tale. I’m so sad for her… but so happy for you for having survived it.

  2. What a heart-wrenching post. I cannot imagine what she or you had to go through and I’m very sorry for it. Very happy to hear life in prison is the fate of those who did such an awful thing to their baby girl.

  3. Oh man. I’m very sorry you both had to go through that. I’m sure Tiffany is at peace now that her parents have been convicted. And look at you! So much growth and strength.

    1. Thank you Shary. It took some time but I think I am over it now and is able to talk about it without breaking down.. thanks for visiting 🙂

  4. I feel the pain which you experienced in that innocent
    period of life.I am very proud of you,because you are a survivor. Tiffany was helpless at the face of the evil.pray that there be no more of tiffanys in this world.

  5. This brought chills and goose bumps! I too was beaten as a child by my Dad – he beat me, my sister, and my Mom. I never really talk about it – but reading your blog today makes me feel like I should – in order to heal AND help others. Thank you for writing this! 🙂

    1. Oh dear! I am so sorry to hear that.. twenty years ago, I did not think that I am going to talk about it today, much less that I write about this torturous period and people read about it, you know. But, sometimes, healing happens when we are ready to confront it…even better… others can learn from our experiences too, right? I know it is hard, but not impossible.. thanks for stopping by 🙂

  6. My heart hurts for you and Tiffany. Hopefully you are able to find peace and forgiveness after that. I know it is so hard when the person who caused you pain isn’t here anymore. Thanks for sharing, Hugs.

  7. Dear Vinma, I’m so very shaken to read about what you went through as a child. I hope your mom got help for her condition….there can be no other possible excuse for what she did. I also hope you have got the help and support you need to deal with the aftermath. You are definitely one brave, strong person to talk about this so categorically. {{hugs}}

  8. I can’t imagine the courage it took for you to write this deeply painful and personal post. Thank you for sharing this. I won’t soon forget it.

  9. Oh wow…I hadn’t heard of this news story (I don’t watch the news), but my how it touches my heart. After my mom died, I was neglected (no clothes except for 1 pair to wear and nightgown–not even a coat), then my dad remarried and that became a life of physical and emotional abuse. I don’t want to diminish your story or this beautiful little girl’s either, by relating my own. Parenting is such an important job–it’s a gift–and I often wonder why in this day-and-age, we still insist on using force (emotional or physical) to get kids to “tow the line” or even take out our frustrations on them in a manner that diminishes their very soul. It’s the same thing with war–haven’t we lived enough years on the planet to not use that as a solution to our “problems?” Anyway, I am so sorry to hear about Tiffany’s story and for Tiffany’s mother too. Tiffany is in a better place now, but her mother has to live on with her grief.

  10. Oh Vinma, I am so sorry for what you suffered as a child.,,it must have been difficult for you to talk about. I cannot even begin to imagine what Tiffany must have gone through. I have such a hard time understanding how a parent could do such a thing…that poor child must have felt so alone, separated from her mother in Jamaica and not feeling like she could speak up. My heart is heavy just thinking about this.

  11. Pingback: A Momless Mom - The SITS Girls
    1. May Tiffany’s soul rest in peace as I knew her personally and she was such a sweet child. What happened to her was tragic but we should not believe all that we read in the paper about both of her parents, I knew them as well and I know that despite what we have read, her father loved her immensely and his heart broke the day she died. I know that he is guilty of one thing and one thing only, not protecting his child.

      1. I am so sorry for your loss Ebony..I don’t know what to tell you and I know that you are hurting… you are right, we cannot believe whatever we read in papers and what the circumstances were that led up to this horrible tragedy. All I thought of was the plight of that poor child and the ways she could have been saved.. I was shocked that this happened at her own home surrounded by her own people who were supposed to protect her.. There was no help when she needed it and she died alone… and I do hope that she find her peace in after life where nobody can hurt her anymore.. I feel for her Dad..don’t get me wrong, judging anyone was not the idea when I wrote this.. It was just my sadness for the loss of that little girl…a regret of not knowing her while she was alive so that I could have helped her and rescued her before this happened..

  12. What a horrific story for both of you. I’m so sorry for the ugliness that you experienced at the hands of your mother. Thank you for sharing your story so openly. It matters.

  13. Thank you for sharing Tiffany’s story and your own. I hope the notes she wrote were ones her parents (murderers) made her write. I hope she died not thinking she was the problem. Your story is chilling and necessary for you to tell and others to hear. There are others like you out there who haven’t told their story to the world. Thanks for being so brave. Enjoy your SITS Day.

  14. Oh my. Reading these words just opened my heart to heaviness and grief over both Tiffany’s and your horrific experience. I pray that Tiffany is in God’s Hands now, where she will forever be loved and safe.
    I thank God you have been saved from the horrific anguish and trauma you battled from your own mother. I am sick thinking about it. You are amazing in your strength.

  15. wow, this tory completely touched my heart…i can’t imagine subjecting my children to any harm…just horrible…thanks so much for sharing your story.

  16. Your story breaks my heart and brings back many memories of my own abuse 🙁 I too am a survivor 🙂 I have a wonderful family now and have escaped the grips of all that dysfunctional family heritage. I hope to leave a new legacy for my children and I see you are too.

    We never what goes on behind closed doors…I tell my children this all the time 🙁

    Many Blessings to you!

  17. My eyes were glued to the computer screen this entire post, with my jaw dropped. I can’t imagine experience what either of you did. You both are so, so brave, and I wish Tiffany also was a survivor who could share her story. But she will always be remembered, and hopefully give the courage to someone to share their story before it’s too late.

  18. Wow! This post made me very sad. She was a little black girl, and I am a black woman, so it struck a chord with me b/c I have a little girl. I’m glad that you survived and I don’t understand why anyone would want to hurt a child.There just in no excuse. I pray God heal and bless you for sharing this story. Tiffany is now with the angels. 🙂

  19. Vinma, oh my! I am so sorry to hear of the abuse and trauma you endured. I pray that you are healing daily from it. It is hard to comprehend such cruelty to one’s own children. Tiffany… Lord have mercy. Her mom must be so devastated to think that she was trying to help her child, only to have this happen at the hands of Tiffany’s own father. SMH.

    I pray God’s strength permeate your life and bring wholeness and some measure of closure, Vinma. Stay well.

  20. This. Hit. Home. Thank you for keeping Tiffany’s memory alive. Thank you for having the courage to tell your own story. Thank you for reminding survivors that we are not alone. Peace. ♥

  21. I have no words. You are incredibly strong and brave to share your story. Telling your tale honors the tragically short life of Tiffany Gayle.
    Visiting from SITS.

  22. What a tragic, tragic incident. You wrote a very good article and thank you for giving us a glimpse into your life. I cannot imagine growing up in that environment so I praise you for stopping that cycle of abuse and sharing your experience with the world.

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