The USA Today reports the devastating story of a father from Jamaica who was denied a temporary visa to attend his daughter's funeral in the United States after she was stabbed to death in New Jersey.
Keansburg, New Jersey police believe that 18-year-old Andreas Erazo, Smith's neighbor, killed the girl by stabbing her in the neck. She was found dead on the roof of her apartment building, wrapped in a blanket on July 13, 2017.
The Middlesex County Medical Examiner has ruled Smith's death a homicide, according to APP.
Upon receiving the heart-wrenching news that his young daughter had been slain, Smith's father immediately applied for a temporary visa so that he could lay his daughter to rest.
However, both Smith's father and her half-sister, Kenish Smith, were denied.
They then traveled to the U.S Embassy in Kingston, Jamaica to appeal the decision, bringing along a copy of Smith's death certificate and news stories about her murder, and were denied again.
"I was just wondering why would they deny me the chance to see my daughter for the last time," Smith's father said. “I just want to see my beautiful angel. She’s my diamond. She always shines when I see her."
Not to be denied, Smith's father desperately pleaded to President Donald Trump, asking for the visa rejection to be overturned in a video shared by the Ashbury Park Press.
"Mr. Trump, she is my daughter. Put yourself in my position and see what would be suitable to you as a father who nourishes and cares for your child," he said. "My dear little AbbieGail was taken away and I need to pay my last respects to her. That's all I'm asking."
Although the United States never reveals its reasons for denying someone entry, Smith's father believes that his rejection may have had something to do with him being deported after a marijuana arrest in 2001.
He said that he though understands how that could be a barrier, he'd be willing to submit to extra supervision if it meant he could see his daughter's funeral. "I don’t care if I’m escorted for the two days and I’ll come back to Jamaica. I just want to see my child for the last time."
Smith's half-sister, Kennish Smith, has no such black marks on her record, and was confused about why she'd been denied. Embassy officials reportedly told her that she was a threat to overstay her visa in the U.S because she didn't have strong enough ties to Jamaica.
“I tried to question what did they mean, I did have ties," she said. "I have my three children, my job, and my school. I would never want to run away and leave my three children in Jamaica. I just want to be there for my sister. I don’t understand."
Sadly, both Smith's father and her half-sister missed her funeral this week.
Christopher Gramiccioni, Monmouth County prosecutor, described Smith as a "lovely" child. APP reports that in a press conference after her remains were found, he said: "It's a punch in the gut for all of us in this community, especially with law enforcement."
Superior Court Judge Richard W. English charged Erazo with first-degree murder, unlawful possession of a weapon, and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.
According to APP, AbbieGail's mother broke down in court, yelling at Erazo, "You can't even look at us!" and telling him, "May you rot in jail!"
The still-grieving mother was escorted out of the courtroom.
Erazo is currently in jail without bail awaiting his next court date, on July 26.
May AbbieGail rest in peace. Our sincerest condolences go out to her family and loved ones.