Column: A Remembrance Of Connie Furtado

March 1, 2020

[Opinion column written by Keri Ebright]

I returned in 2018 at her 40th year anniversary, in 2019 at her 41st, and 2020 for her 42nd. Forty-two years ago, Connie Furtado, age 11, was brutally raped and murdered when walking home from school. Anyone around here in the 1970s remembers this. Forty-two years ago can still seem like yesterday.

I lived on the island back then. I was in high school, also walking in the afternoon when I was raped and my life threatened in January 1978. I reported this to the police, but my attacker wasn’t caught in time. A few weeks later, Connie was raped and murdered.

Keri Ebright Bermuda Feb 2020

Several months after my assault, I graduated and moved away to attend college – back to the States. I figured I’d never return to Bermuda again. Deep inside I buried all the trauma of what happened to me and to Connie. A few years ago, while taking classes dealing with grief and post traumatic stress, I started processing my pain over Connie’s loss.

I decided I wanted to honour her memory and her life. I signed up for the Bermuda Triangle Challenge in January 2018, printed and laminated her picture, and wore it for the Front Street Mile, the 10k and the marathon.

In 2019, I returned to carry Connie in the Triangle Challenge again. This time, I connected with some of her classmates. We all shared our grief and sense of regret with each other – had we done something different, could she have been saved? Horrible regrets, not rational, were painful nonetheless.

A few weeks ago, in January 2020, I returned for my third Triangle Challenge race. Once more, I carried Connie’s picture with me for the weekend of races. People at aid stations and even along the course recognized me from the previous year when they saw Connie’s picture pinned to the front and back of my shirt. I stopped and shared with any who love, miss and remember her. I have three years of race finisher medals that someday I’d love to give to Connie’s family.

After the marathon, I drove past Paget Primary and down the road where she walked home that fateful day. I visited the site where her life was tragically cut short. I saw her memorial bench for the first time, designed and installed last year by her classmates of long ago. I held my picture of Connie, held the race medals earned in her memory, sat on her bench, and remembered. I felt close to her. I’ll be back next year, Connie.

- Keri Ebright


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Comments (8)

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  1. Unbelievable says:

    I don’t know anything about Connie Furtado’s family but I remember this when I was a child and the trauma felt by the Portuguese community afterwards.

  2. Duane says:

    I remember this like it happened yesterday. My sister and Connie were class mates at Paget Primary. They were walking home from school that day. When they arrived at the fourways old road my sister turned left on to CobbsHill toward Southshore Road and Connie continued walking towards the old Lines grocery. As I look back I tell myself that could have been my sister. We in Bermuda MUST continue to keep our young children safe. Connie will always be remembered.

  3. Seascape says:

    I remember Connie. Many people searched for her. I was 11 at the time and remember going to visit her family in Ord Road not too far from where she was found. When I approached her mother, she held me tight against her and I watched as the tears ran down her face. I attended her funeral with my family. Bermuda came together as a community and St. Theresa’s Cathedral was packed to capacity. Her murder gripped Bermuda in a way that many people no matter if they were black, white or their nationality, we all came together and cried for the loss of a young innocent life. It was felt not only by the Portuguese community but by Bermuda as a whole.

    Bermuda should unite not just in moments of tragedy but at all times.

    • sage says:

      I remember when it happened too, I was 12, it is nice people keep her memory alive, the troubling part is that the perpetrator of this, one of the worst crimes imaginable, is walking amongst us and has been for years.

  4. ella says:

    I will never, never, ever forget the day Connie was brutally murdered! It still bothers me today and I am 50+
    I am hoping FROM MY WHOLE BEING that she is resting in peace.

  5. Joey-Bag-O'Doughnuts says:

    I do not remember this. Was the perp ever caught?

  6. Lisa Lambert says:

    I too will never forget. I lived around the corner on Dunscombe road and was the same age. Her relative was at school with me. When the news reported Connie’s rape and death, I was terrified. I left the living room and went into my room and cried…for Connie, for me and for all children….