Simeon Ramsay, the “teddy bear”-like son who became increasingly reclusive and is alleged to have slain his parents in St Catherine last Friday, wrestled with psychological turmoil from a controlling father who ruled the household with an iron fist, persons with intimate knowledge of the family have disclosed.
And Ramsay has also been cast, by a previous employer, former coach, and teachers, as an amicable, caring youth who had never shown signs of hostility – a narrative that dovetails with other accounts that he appeared to have suffered from mental illness that played out in the tragic double homicide.
In fact, close associates said Simeon, who reportedly confessed to investigators on Friday that he killed his 55-year-old parents, Cecil and Phyllis Ramsay, at their Christian Meadows home, was a Christian who had a gift for interacting with children in his capacity as caregiver and teaching assistant.
Simeon’s father was a minister of religion and his mother acting vice-principal at St Andrew Preparatory School in Half-Way Tree.
A former employer of Simeon’s, who reported being jolted by the macabre killing of the Ramsays, recounted in a Gleaner interview memories of the detained son as “such a nice child, always sending me voice notes of love and hope”.
“I remember Mr Ramsay telling me that his father was pressuring him for money. He wasn’t working anymore and he wanted him to contribute to the household, but it was hard for him because he wasn’t really making that much,” the employer, requesting anonymity, said she was told in her early interactions with Simeon.
“Simeon had gotten chubby and put on weight and wanted to see if he could make it in football. He was training with the Phoenix Academy until his father stopped him,” she said.
The younger Ramsay’s six-week stint with that employer, during the onset of the pandemic, earned him a weekly remuneration of $12,000 for a job that spanned four hours a day.
“I would pick him up at the Portmore bus stop in Half-Way Tree every morning, from Monday to Thursday, and take him to my house,” the former employer said.
But when she offered Simeon the opportunity of staying overnight, she was told that Cecil Ramsay would never agree to it.
“He was 22 or 23 and lived in his parents’ house, so I left it alone. Sometimes I would invite him for things and he had to go to church, he had church meetings, and his father wouldn’t take kindly to it. He had to go,” she told The Gleaner.
Simeon, one of his past teachers told The Gleaner, would never speak disparagingly of his parents. The teacher, also speaking on condition of anonymity, reported that the Ramsays were very strict but Simeon “tried to always shield them and be diplomatic of the situation”.
When contacted by The Gleaner, Craig Butler, president and CEO of Phoenix Sports Management, described the incident as a tragedy.
“Simeon used to come to us a few times when he was in prep school. Several times he had asked to rejoin the academy. He may come for one day or so and we don’t see him again. He has never shown any signs of violence the times he has been with me,” said Butler, who up to recently coached Mona High in schoolboy football competitions.
“We at Phoenix, we preach family and love and loyalty, and to see that happen, I don’t know what happened between him and his family, what happened in his mind, but it’s very unfortunate,” Butler said.
The St Andrew Preparatory School family is said to be extremely worried about Simeon’s state of mind.
Phyllis was a sixth-grade teacher working at the institution for more than 20 years.
But, despite accounts that the father had obsessive control over the family, even demanding to see his wife’s payslip, other persons who knew the Ramsays describe them as model citizens.
“You couldn’t find a better family. The wholesomeness. Mi feel it to mi core,” a member of the St Andrew Preparatory community said.
Grief counselling has commenced for teachers and auxiliary staff.
Bethinia Edwards, principal of St Andrew Preparatory, could not be reached, as calls to her cell phone went to voicemail.
The former employer told The Gleaner that she saw signs that the accused man was struggling with balancing school and being the Key Club president at G.C. Foster College.
The teacher said that the younger Ramsay started playing cricket but reported becoming swamped with church responsibilities, offering excuses that he could not come around more often because of his tight schedule.
“He spoke about God, he spoke about having a relationship with God, and he was always smiling in the face of all kinds of adversities. He always saw the glass half-full and not half-empty,” the former employer said, referring to his supportive behaviour during almost three years of interaction.
Up to press time, the St Catherine South police said that Ramsay had not been charged.
A family friend believes that family turmoil was the tipping point that may have pushed Simeon over the edge. His mother, the friend said, may have been collateral damage.
“I think the rage turned to her because she never did anything to protect him. ‘Cause she is very submissive to the husband. Anything him say, a it that. Him can’t manage jail, he is a teddy bear. Him don’t even raise him voice,” the friend said of Simeon.