The mum of murdered Brit schoolgirl Scarlett Keeling has suffered fresh heartache after the death of her newborn granddaughter.
Fiona MacKeown said the death of little Zylla was “horrific” after the two-month-old daughter of Scarlett’s half-sister Isis Storm Celeste passed away whilst the family were in Brittany, France.
The baby was discovered unresponsive in the early hours of the morning on November 3 after co-sleeping alongside mum Isis and dad Ludo, 24.
Fiona has said Zylla’s death has brought back the horrific memories of losing Scarlett after French authorities removed all of the baby’s organs during an autopsy and then returned her to her parents they claim without telling them.
The same thing happened to Scarlett, 15, after her rape and murder on a beach in Goa in 2008.
A fresh autopsy in Britain showed that the teenager’s uterus, pancreas, both kidneys and spleen were missing.
Police in India said at the time they had been removed for medical examination and would then be destroyed.
Fiona demanded at the time to know why Scarlett’s whole organs were removed and not parts taken for chemical analysis.
Now Fiona, Isis and Ludo face a three-month wait before they will be able to hold a funeral and fear further costs to have her organs returned.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office advise that French judicial authorities do not require the authority of the family to retain body parts if they are deemed necessary for the investigation. However, should the magistrate in charge of the case decide that they are no longer required, it is possible for the family to make a request in writing for their release.
Fiona said: “It’s like reliving it with the organs because that’s the second shock we had with Scarlett when we got her home. Her organs were missing as well.
“It’s like reliving it all again and having to watch Isis go through what I went through 12 years ago is really sad.
“They are saying we might not get them back, the French aren’t being that cooperative because I think they’ve made a mistake by not telling Isis that they were going to take all the organs, which is common procedure in France to take all of the organs of a child.
“They have completely robbed the baby of her right to an autopsy in this country because there’s nothing to test. There’s nothing there anymore so Isis and Ludo are not going to get an answer from our country, which would have been nice for them.
“The rights on this side have been completely removed by the fact that they took all of the organs which is a bit primitive really, isn’t it?
“Surely, they only need a little slither, they don’t need the whole stuff, which has left Isis feeling like she has got half a baby left.
“I hope they get the organs back. It’s a bad enough thing…she needs to bury her and start moving forward but that’s going to be very difficult if she’s always going to feel like there’s some of her missing.”
“Remembering the brief time she spent with Zylla, who shared Scarlett’s middle name Eden, Fiona said: “Isis was such a lovely mum. They were both doting parents. The baby was so good. Such a good, happy, healthy, bouncing baby, it’s such a shock for everybody.
“Isis looks incredibly like Scarlett. I saw both of them in Zylla. She had her daddy’s eyes.”
It’s the third tragedy to hit the family from North Devon after Fiona’s eldest son Halloran killed himself with an overdose in 2016 because he “never got over Scarlett dying”.
“It has made us all become really tight and close together again”, said Fiona.
“We’ve been eating together again almost every night. It brings you all together.
“We’re sort of living together on the land and we’ve been in close proximity of each other but now we’re all in each other’s houses every night.”
She added: “You just don’t have a choice. You have to keep going and be there for each other when you’re feeling sad.”
Fiona’s grieving daughter Isis, 22, says the only relief is that doctors have told her that Zylla didn’t suffocate. She hopes the French authorities will be able to tell her why Zylla died.
She said: “She was really healthy, she passed on the Sunday morning, and she’d just turned nine weeks the day before.
“She was almost rolling and smiling and she could hold her head up from birth, she was really strong.
“As soon as she was born, she just shot up.”
Recounting the tragic moment, Isis said she knew instantly that her daughter had passed.
She said: “Normally, Zylla was really, really good, she only woke up once and if she was ill about twice.
“She normally woke up about 3am for a feed but we woke up at four because she hadn’t woken us up.
“And I just woke up to my partner holding her so I ran to alert my sister-in-law who was sleeping next door.
“She tried to do CPR and resuscitate her whilst the ambulance came and when they arrived she said we had done everything we could.
“I knew straightaway that she was dead and the ambulance was called because you have to do so.
“She was really cold and we just knew.
“Some of the medics couldn’t even come into the house that morning because they were crying outside.
“They think she’d been gone for a few hours which means it was in the first hour of us going to sleep that she passed.
“She never cried unless she was hungry, she was the best baby.
“Everyone commented on how calm she always was. She was always smiling.”
The family have crowdfunded £3,000 which helped them arrange to return Zylla home.
Isis met dad Ludo two years ago and the couple were over the moon when they learnt about the pregnancy at Christmas.
Now she says she is coping with the support of her family.
She said: “I’m doing better than a lot of people would because I have a lot of family around me. I’m very lucky to have that.
“But it hits me in waves, like when we found out that her organs were in another country.”
But Isis says her agony is heightened as tragic sister Scarlett never even got to meet the gorgeous tot.
She said: “Obviously I’m gutted she never got to meet my child or my sister’s two children.”
In 2008, 15-year-old Scarlett was raped and killed on a beach in Goa whilst on a family holiday.
Mum Fiona fought for justice after police in Goa initially concluded her death was accidental, before a second postmortem revealed she had been drugged and raped before being killed.
Half-sibling Isis had been on the trip alongside mum Fiona, her mother’s boyfriend, and six siblings and half-siblings.
Finally in July this year, beach shack worker Samson D’Souza, 39, was convicted at guilty of Bombay High Court in July “culpable homicide not amounting to murder.” He was handed a 10-year jail sentence.
Isis says her mum was delighted when she learnt she was becoming a grandmother for the third time.
She said: “I think it helped her when my sister Kis had kids.
“She was obviously over the moon and obsessed when my sister had children.
“She was really happy when I found out I was pregnant, it was just before Christmas.
“And my dad was over the moon because it was his first grandson ever.
“From there onwards, it was absolutely blissful.”
Isis raised money to help towards Zylla’s funeral costs and Fiona says her granddaughter will be buried on the family land.
She said: “They are going to bury her at home. It won’t be in the same place as Scarlett because Isis wants Zylla nearer to her which is across from where she’s living.
“They have bought a beautiful tree to plant on top of where she’s going to be buried.
“My other son that died is in the same garden.
“The only hope is the French were very thorough with their autopsy. They did scans and tested everything. They swabbed everything in the house. They tested everything so the only hope is they may end up with some result from France.
“It would be nice to know that there was an answer rather than it was just a cot death. It would help give some closure.”
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