Mariam Makhniashvili’s funeral

The funeral for Mariam Makhniashvili has taken place — a public ceremony on Friday, and a private one yesterday. Although she wasn’t a Charley Project case because she disappeared in Canada, I did follow it to a certain extent and blogged about her in my March 11 entry “Final Leaps.”

Mariam’s disappearance (now presumed to be a suicide, although not officially ruled as such) tore her family apart. Literally. Some months after she vanished, her father, Vakhtang, snapped under the pressure of it all and stabbed a guy whom he accused of being involved in Mariam’s disappearance. A sympathetic couple, strangers to the Makhniashvili family, bailed Vakhtang out of jail. He later stabbed one of them too. Of course this violent behavior lead to speculation that Vakhtang had also harmed his daughter. He pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and was sentenced to six years in prison. He isn’t dead, of course, but at least until he gets out of prison the family has to all intents been reduced by half: now it’s just Mariam’s younger brother, George Makhniashvili, and their mother, Lela Tabidze.

Vakhtang has reportedly behaved well in prison, but he was not allowed leave from prison to attend his daughter’s funeral. The decision was “partially based on Mr. Makhniashvili’s court-ordered psychiatric assessment.” He has a “delusional disorder” and I guess they think he’s (still) dangerous.

I can understand the authorities not wanting to take a risk with Vakhtang, but it’s still a shame that he couldn’t attend. The Makhniashvilis are immigrants from the Republic of Georgia and I don’t think they have any relatives in Ontario. They had been living in Canada for only three months. Mariam was shy, had no friends, spoke no English, and had attended school for all of four days by the time of her disappearance. Of course some of the teachers and students from her school showed up at the funeral and said nice things — the principal called Mariam “a wonderful student, a person who was highly introspective and highly sensitive and very intuitive” — but let’s face it, they didn’t know her.

In a sense, every grieving person is alone in their sorrow, but Lela Tabidze and George Makhniashvili must feel especially alone, surrounded by all these kind well-wishers, but no one who actually knew Mariam and could share memories of her childhood, her personality, all that she was.

6 thoughts on “Mariam Makhniashvili’s funeral

  1. Saffy March 25, 2012 / 6:50 pm

    that story was big news here in Canada. Very sad story. I actually thought she’d run away. The poor mother, with the father in jail. What a horrible nightmare. At least, she knows what happened…nothing could be worse than never knowing.

    • Meaghan March 25, 2012 / 6:59 pm

      I wish Mariam had chosen a different way to die, so her body would have been found faster.

      Michael knew a man — a friend of his actually, from before he met me — who was actually killed by an overpass jumper. The guy was just driving down the interstate minding his own business when the jumper came smashing right through his windshield and caused him to crash his car. Both of them were killed.

      • Saffy March 25, 2012 / 7:05 pm

        true, but it takes even longer to find someone who jumps off a bridge. SOmetimes never!
        that’s awfully sad as well….I suppose if you’re going to jump off an overpass, the best time would be in the wee hours of the morning when there was no traffic.

  2. chris March 26, 2012 / 2:13 am

    i think they shouldve let him go to his daughters funeral.

  3. Celeste March 26, 2012 / 10:25 pm

    Yeah! Miriam’s grandmother lives in the Republic of Georgia. I think that there’s more to this than meets the eye. Maktang was depressed after Miriam disappeared so that had a lot to do with it. 😦

  4. Elmer August 30, 2012 / 2:21 am

    Saffy makes a great safety tip here…

    “when jumping off overpasses do in in the wee hours

    of the morning to avoid landing on innocent motorist”

    However – when someone gets into that state of mind

    where they decide to destroy themselves I am sure

    that they dont really give a good Rat’s Ass what they are

    landing on… mentally they are not home… Period!

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