Have the police given up on searching for missing hairdresser, Ria Sookdeo? Was this the reason why Crime Stoppers have stepped in and offered a $50,000 reward for information which can help in finding her.
Ria’s family firmly believe that the police have given up on her. Reason? The police no longer keep in touch with Ria’s family. Ria’s father and husband have returned to work, and her children are back in school.
Crime Stoppers’ reward was advertised in the daily newspapers on Wednesday.
It read: “Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward of $50,000 for information that can help in finding Ms. Ria Sookdeo of Wellington Road, Debe, or arrest of the persons involved in her kidnapping.”
Sookdeo, 34, was abducted after dropping off her two young children at Picton Presbyterian Primary School on September 22.
Police said Ria dropped off the children and drove to Picton Estate Road to turn her vehicle when her pathway was blocked by a black Nissan X-Trail SUV. She was dragged from her red Nissan X-trail and taken away. Ria’s handbag, cellphone and one side of a pair of slippers were left behind.
CCTV footage from businesses near the school showed the black SUV parked outside the school. Sookdeo’s vehicle was seen outside the school at around 7.35am. As she drove off the black vehicle was seen following her SUV.
Police said the black vehicle was seen speeding in the direction of Barrackpore.
A week later, a black Nissan X-Trail was seized at a house in Barrackpore and an ex-policeman detained. But the man was later released and it was determined that the vehicle was not used in Ria’s abduction.
Ria’s husband, Mark, and their two children, ages nine and five, have pleaded for her safe release. Ria operated a hairdressing salon at her home.
Investigators believe that Ria was snatched by professionals including police and soldiers. No ransom was ever made to her family. Investigators have ruled out the kidnapping for ransom and believe there were other factors behind her disappearance.
Police suspect that the kidnappers were carrying out the job for someone who is owed a large sum of money from one of Ria’s relatives.
That relative, according to police, has gone into hiding. Investigators suspect that because of the length of time Ria is missing, she may not be alive as kidnappers do not keep their victim that long in captivity.
Police, relatives, and villagers have searched almost every area in South Trinidad, including the forested areas, but to no avail.
Police have issued sketches of two persons who may be able to give information on Ria’s whereabouts, but even that has hit a wall.