BY TRONE DOWD
When a shining star from Southeast Queens went off to begin her college career at Hartford University in Connecticut, she couldn’t have expected that her health would allegedly be sabotaged by a vindictive roommate.
Connecticut police said that 18-year-old Chennel “Jazzy” Rowe, a Springfield Gardens resident and graduate of Springfield Gardens High School, was the victim of continual poisoning.
Freshman Brianna Brochu, Rowe’s roommate, allegedly began the elaborate contamination of Rowe’s personal belongings as far back as late August when the two began rooming together.
Effects of the allegedly attacks began within weeks of Rowe moving in, starting with a sore throat. Rowe said that she neglected the symptom, writing it off as the beginning stages of a common cold. But after a month of her sore throat worsening, she realized that the other common symptoms of the cold never came.
In a nearly two-hour Q&A video posted to Facebook, Rowe recalled the throat pains becoming so excruciating that she couldn’t speak or sleep.
“I could barely whisper,” she said. “I went to the school’s health clinic, which took three tests, all of which came back negative.”
Doctors, unable to pinpoint the cause of Rowe’s illness, prescribed antibiotics to the teenager. It wasn’t until the school’s residential assistant allegedly made a grim discovery on Brochu’s Instagram account that Rowe would begin to get answers.
Rowe’s roommate had allegedly been documenting her exploits on social media for her followers’ entertainment.
“I finally did it,” Brochu’s most recent post read. “Ya girl got rid of her roommate. After one-and-a-half months of spitting in her coconut oil, putting moldy clam dip in her lotions, rubbing used tampons on her backpack, putting her toothbrush places where the sun doesn’t shine and so much more, I can finally say goodbye to ‘Jamaican Barbie.’”
Although the extent of Brochu’s alleged attacks have not yet been determined, it was concluded that was Rowe was targeted due to her race. Rowe said that since the two moved into the same dorm, Brochu made her feel “unwanted in [her] own room.”
“I was assigned a roommate by random,” she said. “And I was like a ghost in my own room. I was disrespected. Not physically, but in other ways. If I was in my room working, she would turn off the light before walking out. A lot of petty, disrespectful stuff. I knew that this was not what roommates were supposed to be.”
The story has gained national attention. Brochu has since been arrested and charged with misdemeanor criminal mischief and breach of peace. Over the weekend, Connecticut police recommended that Brochu also be charged with a felony bigotry charge for her actions.
According to the Hartford Courant, the university’s president George Woodward has since condemned Brochu’s alleged actions, calling them “reprehensible.” The student paper confirmed that she no longer attends the school.
Reach reporter Trone Dowd by phone at (718) 357-7400, ext. 123 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.