Hope Arismandez

  December 14, 1999 -  May 24, 2008
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Eight year old Hope Arismandez wanted to be a teacher when she grew up and she spent many an hour reading books. On the day she disappeared, Hope called her mother, Sherma Rajoon, who was at work, around 9:00 p.m.  and asked her to come home. Sherma didn't know that this would be the last time she would ever speak to her daughter. When she got home, Sherma could not find hope any where.

Living in the home with Sherma, hope and Hope's 14 year old brother was Sherma's live in boyfriend, Sunil Ali, who was 28 years old. Hope had been left in the care of a neighbor while her mother went to work. Sunil picked Hope up around 5:00 p.m. according to that neighbor. When Sunil returned home, he told Sherma that he had gone to gas up his truck and he had drank a few beers before he came home, he claimed he did not know where Hope was. Sherma reported Hope missing and a search began. Police, friends and family started a search on the 24th and continued until May 25th.

After giving several different stories to the police, finally Sunil told the truth which was that he had been drinking and it caused him to have lustful feelings for Hope and he was able to trick her into going for ride with him. Sunil tried to have sex with Hope, but she fought him and while she was trying to get away from him, he pulled into a cane field and try to rape her. When she again started to fight him, Sunil pushed her out of the truck and began to beat on her. Sunil decided that he could not take her home and have her tell people what he had tried to do do her, so he cut her throat and stabbed her in the back of her head.

People were trying to get a glimpse of Sunil as Police brought him into the police station. People were yelling names at him and even threatening his life, Sunil just kept his head facing down. Reports said that when Sherma went to the jail to visit the man she called her common law husband, he had told her that he wanted to take his own life and Police had stripped him of everything other than his shorts so that he could not make a noose to hang himself. After confessing and leading Police to Hope's body, Sunil had asked them to use their guns to kill him.

On May 27, 2008, Police found Hope's body in that abandoned can field after Sunil lead them to where he had left her. Hope was still wearing the pink shirt she was wearing the day she disappeared, though pieces of her pants and under- wear were found a short walk from where she was. Sherma said of Sunil:

"He is to blame because I left her in his custody. He was probably high.
He would drink when he got pay.
He kept on telling the police he only saw
her at the neighbors"

I have to wonder why anyone would leave their child with a man they know drinks in excess. A couple of hours before hope was found, her father said that he thought she was still alive. He
talked about his close relationship with her and how he had raised to her know that if anyone tried to mess with her in any way at all, she could tell him:

"Just a few days ago we went to KFC and we were talking and she never gave any sign that
anything was wrong with her or that anybody was interfering with her. She usually would
confide certain information to me, it was normal. She is very intelligent and knows what she
is about and is very aware as to what is happening around her. She was taught right from
wrong and knew how she was to be treated by anyone, whether they were man or woman"
Donald Arismandez

The cover of a local newspaper reported Hope's death, like this, it seems so cold:

A family member said:

"I really don't know why an innocent child like this had to go in such a brutal and inhumane manner.
What did she ever do to deserve this? She was surely and angel came down to Earth straight from
Heaven above"

A neighbor said:

"I am ripped in pieces over this. I can't believe that this is really happening. She was such a nice and
pleasant girl that I loved dearly and will always do"

Sunil Ali was in court on May 29, 2008 and a court date was set for June 9, 2008, he would never make that court appearance because on May 30, 2008, Sunil was found dead, hanging in his cell. When Sherma was watching the news and learned of the death of Sunil, she fainted and later had to be sedated. Hope's older sister was in shock:

"It's shocking. I feel good that he hanged himself. I am glad that monster would not be in society to
hurt anyone else. I believe that when he killed himself, we got justice, but he got the easy way out. He
should have stayed jail and suffered as how my little sister suffered. I am glad that he is not going to be
around to harm anyone else. That monster is no longer around"

Hope was buried on May 31, 2008 after a funeral service at the Carapichaima RC Church, which was the same church her mother had gone to pray for her to come home safely. Her parents, Sherma Rajoon and Ronald Arismandez, cried over her closed casket, at her funeral.

As for Sunil Ali, his body was taken to the Forensic Science Lab, wearing the same clothes he had been wearing when he appeared in court the day before. Sunil was given a fresh set of clothing at the funeral home before the Muslim funeral right was held at the home of his mother. His family asked that his burial site be kept from the public to avoid vandalism, though it is reported to be about a mile from his mother's house. I would hope that for the sake of his mother, that no one would vandalize his grave. She is not responsible for what he did and she does not deserve to be put through the pain that it would cause her.

This page was created on June 5, 2014
Death Occurred in Trinidad & Tobago

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