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PS 107 collects funds to send boy’s body to Cameroon

Maria Bonilla (l.) and Kathryn Como (r.), parents of students who just graduated from PS 107, sit at a fund-raising booth in front of the school. Photo by Sarina Trangle
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The PS 107 community is offering financial help to Orlie Siankam as she travels to her native Cameroon to bury a son who authorities allege was strangled to death by his dad.

Parents had collected about $8,300 toward sending Siankam and her sister, Emilienne Ngampa, home with the remains of Jerry Kenmoe, who was going into fourth-grade at the Flushing school, as of Tuesday evening.

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing) said she helped Siankam obtain the necessary travel clearance before her Wednesday flight.

Kathryn Como, whose son just graduated from PS 107, said the PS 107 community hopes to raise enough to reimburse Siankam for a trip that is financially taxing for her and to send Ngampa to join her in Cameroon. Como estimated this would cost at least $10,000.

“And there are still some expenses obviously that have to be paid when they get there for the morgue and travel from the airport to a village,” Como said. “It’s a lot.”

Many at PS 107 were stunned to learn Kenmoe, 8, was killed June 29.

The Queens district attorney’s office charged the Flushing boy’s father with second-degree murder, shortly after police said he allegedly admitted to strangling the 8-year-old to death and slitting his own wrists in an apparent suicide-attempt.

Although PS 107 is on summer vacation, the city Department of Education sent grief counselors to the Flushing school last week to help mourning teachers and parents, according to Joe Kessler, the District 25 United Federation of Teachers district leader.

“Kids were telling stories of Jerry — he was really, really liked by friends. And teachers said he was the sweetest and always wanted to help,” said Kessler, a physical education teacher at PS 107. “There was a lot, a lot of crying and we were consoling each other.”

Soon they had organized a fund-raising drive, soliciting money at a booth in front of the 167-02 45th Ave. school and online, at crowdrise.com/fundraiserforJerryKenmoe.

Parents remembered Jerry as quick to smile, an eager basketball player and practitioner of taekwondo near PS 107’s entrance.

“He was a happy boy, always smiling,” said Maria Bonilla, whose son used to play basketball with Jerry.

Como said many from the school also attended a service for Jerry in Brooklyn this weekend.

“It was horrible, just heart-wrenching because the mother is just inconsolable,” she said. “It was very hard to sit there.”

Reach reporter Sarina Trangle at 718-260-4546 or by e-mail at strangle@cnglocal.com.

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