Ben Johnson


Man murdered 14-year-old girl, tried to set her on fire because she refused abortion, police say

Ben Johnson

BROOKLYN, NY, May 20, 2013 ( – A 20-year-old man has confessed to smothering a 14-year-old girl, keeping her body in a suitcase, and trying to set her remains on fire because she would not have an abortion, police say.

Christian Ferdinand smothered Shaniesha Forbes with a pillow inside his cousin's Brooklyn apartment after she told him she was carrying his baby and refused to abort, according to charges lodged against the Jamaican-born man.

Police say he stuffed her body inside a suitcase and left it in his cousin's building for two days before unsuccessfully attempting to burn her corpse.

Police found Shaniesha Forbes' partially charred body on Gerritsen Beach, just a few miles from the teens' home in the Flatlands neighborhood of Brooklyn.

“The victim in this case was found naked and burned on the beach," said Brooklyn Assistant District Attorney Wilfredo Cotto at a hearing last Thursday. Ferdinand was charged with second-degree murder after authorities found that Forbes died of “homicidal asphyxiation.”

Forbes was not pregnant, according to the New York City Medical Examiner's Office.

The teen, who was a freshman at The Academy for Young Writers, disappeared on January 4. Police found her body on January 6.

The two met over Facebook and soon became sexually active, local media report.

Forbes' mother knew her daughter was dating but did not know the man's age or identity. “They even showed me his picture,” she said. “I had never seen him.”

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Harold Crawford, a community advocate with 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, told the Bangor (Maine) Daily News he hopes that young people learn the dangers of internet hookups. “Anytime someone on a social media site tells you to keep secrets, that’s when it’s time to cut it off,” he said.

Ferdinand was born in Jamaica but now lives in Limestone, Maine, where police arrested him.

The case is one of several instances when men have killed, beaten, or threatened women who refused to abort babies the father did not want.

Earlier this year, a Hmong man in Wisconsin, True Xiong, threatened to kill a woman if she did not abort their baby.

In March, investigators said an Indian woman who chose life was gang-raped by five men at the instruction of her husband.

A Pennsylvania man, Stephen Poaches, strangled his 24-year-old girlfriend, killing her and their unborn baby in a rage in July 2005. “He did not want this child to be born,” said Assistant District Attorney Carlos Vega. Poaches was convicted on two counts of first-degree murder a year later.

In 1997, Alfred E. Smith of Louisiana killed his ex-girlfriend, Denna Moody, after she refused to abort their child. He was found guilty of committing second-degree murder.

Pro-life advocates note that many women suffer psychological pain for years after caving in to pressure and aborting children they wanted to keep. 

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