Former beauty queen Candice Worrell remains in a comatose condition at the St Clair Medical Centre, more than two weeks after she was brutally assaulted and robbed outside her work place at 38 John Street, Montrose, Chaguanas.
However, Worrell’s condition has stabilised and she is now breathing on her own. Doctors are expected to move the 28-year-old mother of one from ICU to HDU (High Dependency Unit) within a few days.
Her fiancé and Trinidad and Tobago international footballer, Jan-Michael Williams, told Wired868.com that Worrell has improved physically but she remains unconscious.
“Most of the swelling on her face is gone,” said Williams, who captains local Pro League team, W. Connection FC. “Her eyes are opening and closing too but she is still in a comatose state and the doctors are saying it is an involuntary action.”
Worrell, who represented Trinidad and Tobago at the 2009 Miss Tourism Queen International and holds a UWI degree in Biology and Environmental Biology, was attacked outside Jenexcon Engineering on January 20, just after 5 pm. She was a Health and Safety Officer at Jenexcon.
A co-worker said Worrell realised that she forgot her cell phone at the office and left a taxi to return for it on Friday evening. She was found instead, by a nearby worker from an upholstering company, lying unconscious with her jaw broken in two places just outside the office door.
Her cellular phone and wallet were not recovered.
“When I saw her, I couldn’t recognise her,” said Williams, who cut short a training session to rush to her side. “Her face was swollen three times over… She was in the same clothes (as when she left home) but, when I took a first look at her, I thought that wasn’t my girlfriend.”
The talented goalkeeper, who had professional stints in Belgium and Hungary and was a member of T&T’s 2001 Under-17 World Cup team, has a 10-month-old daughter with Worrell named Nevaeh—heaven spelt backwards.
The couple has been together for over five years and hoped to marry this year.
Williams is still shocked by the savage attack on his fiancée. And, although he spoke in glowing terms about the treatment Worrell received at St Clair, he is unhappy with the response from the Police Service and the early care provided at the Mt Hope Hospital.
“Just take a walk into emergency at Mt Hope and you will see what I had to go through,” he said. “I can say a lot more but I don’t want to sound as if I am targeting any individual… All I will say is that it is the last place I want to go if I get sick.”
On the night of the assault, Williams said officers at the Chaguanas Police Station explained that Worrell’s case was not high priority as there had been recent murders in the borough.
The footballer did his own investigations and spoke to Jenexcon employees as well as workers from nearby companies. Williams even located a surveillance camera across the street that he claimed the police missed and brought it to their attention.
Williams said he phoned the investigating officer regularly but often in vain. He claimed he last heard from him on January 24.
“Eventually, I just gave up,” said Williams. “It is strange to me that the police don’t seem to be taking a serious interest in this because obviously the person (who attacked Candice) is still on the streets. That baffled me the most.
“It is carnival time and so many women are out and it is an easier time to target women.”
Wired868 contacted the Police Public Affairs Unit but noone was able to comment at the time.
Williams’ daily routine involves football training in Couva, visiting Nevaeh by her grandmother’s home in Marabella and driving to St Clair to see his fiancée. W. Connection owner David John Williams—the two men are not related—loaned his captain a vehicle to help him move around. There has also been support for the player from Pro League team, DirecTV North East Stars, Soca Warriors Online and other football stakeholders.
Worrell’s physical improvement has been encouraging but, mentally, there is little change so far.
Last week, her heart rate increased during visits from Williams and her younger sister, Tricia, which, according to doctors, suggests that she is aware of things around her. Worrell responded positively to audio recordings of Nevaeh too.
“The doctor said there is nothing physically wrong with her; it is just for her to regain full consciousness,” said Williams. “They did an analysis on her and found no brain damage. So, they don’t know why she hasn’t woken up.
“They feel that she put her mind in a safe place because she was critically traumatised.
“It is up to her if she wants to come out; and when. All I can do is keep praying and hoping.”
Worrell should turn 29 on Wednesday.