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UPDATE: Three persons of interest in Hanover girl's death released

By Clinton McGregor 

The Hanover Police have detained three more Persons of Interest in connection with the murder of nine-year-old Esher Primary student, Nikita Noel.

The men were picked up Thursday during a series of operations by the Hanover Police and detectives attached to the Area One Headquarters.

Superintendent Sharon Beeput, head of the Hanover Police, said the men will be questioned by detectives seeking to solve the murder of the child, whose death has shocked the Kew district community.

Another man was detained Wednesday evening.

The nine-year-old is believed to have been raped and murdered while coming from school.

Her mother, Nordia Edwards, said she became concerned when Nikita, affectionately called "Joanna", did not return home.

The matter was reported to the Hanover Police, who led a search team to the area.

The child's body was found sometime after 8 p.m. in bushes, metres from her home.

Superintendent Beeput along with officers from the division and the Principal of Esher Primary visited Ms Edwards Thursday afternoon.

Officials from the Ministry of Education, including the regional director and several principals in the parish have also been in touch with the victim's family.

Education Minister Fayval Williams has expressed deep sadness at the death of the nine-year-old.

Mrs Williams said Nikita's brutal assault and murder is a sad reflection of callous barbarity that characterises elements in the society, but which should not be normalised. 

She said the ministry grieves with Nikita's family and will offer counselling to them as well as her school community. 

The minister urged anyone who may have information that could help the police in their investigations to come forward.

Children's Advocate Diahann Gordon Harrison has also condemned Nikita's murder. 

She has again expressed concern about the continued incidents of violence against children, especially those perpetrated by people they know. 

She pleaded to families, caregivers and other well-meaning citizens to ensure they carefully examine the people who children are exposed to.