The clock is ticking and with every passing day, it becomes unlikely that hairdresser Ria Sookdeo will be returned home….alive.
Ria was kidnapped after dropping off her two children at Picton, Debe, on September 22. There has been no ransom demand and the tips from the public have dried up. For days after her kidnapping, there were many tips and information, all which turned out to be false. The police even nabbed the wrong suspects and seized the wrong vehicle.
It is clear to everyone now that this was not a kidnapping for ransom, but a kidnapping for revenge as highlighted by TTWhistleblower earlier in October. A family connection is the reason why Ria was taken and not returned.
Her children, Elana, nine, and Tores, five, continue to ask when their mother will return home. They hold nightly prayers hoping for the best. Her father Frankie Rajkumar, said he is keeping hope alive that his daughter will return to him safe and sound.
A debt to the underworld becomes a death sentence to someone. Ask the relatives of Hamilton “Mice” Baboolal, who stole cocaine and threatened to kidnap the wife of reputed drug lord, Dole Chadee.
He was not only made to pay with his life, but in the same attack, he lost mother, father and sister. It was a miracle that his younger sister and brother were spared. It is true that Chadee and his gang were executed for these crimes, but there are other gangs and other debts as we see very regularly.
Ria’s kidnapping was carried out by professionals and investigators believe that the police and former soldiers were involved.
While relatives remain optimistic that Ria would be returned to them alive, the general view of the investigators is that Ria may have already been killed. They have ruled out that Ria organised her kidnapping to escape from her husband. They have ruled out that Ria would just abandon her two loved children.
Whenever a body turns up, frantic relatives go to the scene to check to see if it is Ria. They would prefer closure, rather than not knowing what has happened to her.
One goes back to July 1985 when 24-year-old school teacher Juliet Tam went jogging and has not been seen since.
One remembers when United States citizen Balram “Balo” Maharaj was kidnapped in April 2005 and a ransom demand of $3 million was made. It was not until January 8, 2006 that his remains were found in a grave in the hills of Santa Cruz. That was after a car thief was caught and he wanted to “sing” in an effort to secure a deal with the police and eventually, the FBI.
It turns out that Winston Gittens was the driver of one of the getaway cars in that kidnapping and others.
What about Leah Lammy, 9, who is missing since February 10, 2009?
It is happening too often. People, especially women and children, are disappearing without a trace, and no one knows what has happened to them. In a small place like Trinidad and Tobago, where “macoing” is a form of recreation, people have vanished and no one knows a thing.
Take, for instance, the case of Denise Barcant, 46, a resident of St Ann’s. She left home in her car and never returned. No Denise, no car, in a small place like T&T. Something has to be radically wrong. Were these people sold as part of the international human trafficking fiasco, or were they killed? No one in the Police Service can shed light on this. Was this a case of Denise being killed and her body buried? Someone must know.
The most celebrated of them is the case of Juliet Tam. A school teacher by profession, Tam disappeared without a trace while jogging in 1985 and has not been seen again. She went jogging in Arima and just disappeared. Although there were calls that she was spotted and that she was seen in England, Tam remained missing.
There is the case of Vijay Persad, 10, who disappeared in front of his family’s home in New Grant and he, too, was not found. To make matters more mysterious, a fire wiped out his family four years later.
Denise Barcant, the first-born child of Anne Barcant, vanished without a trace on October 24, 2008. The circumstances surrounding her disappearance remain a mystery.
logoAnne told the media sometime ago: “If you have a sore inside you and the ointment isn’t there to heal it, it remains a sore, and every time you talk about it or somebody brings it up, it’s still a sore. You know it’s not healing and you can’t heal yet.” She added: “I rely on God’s word and I live on that, so any time I tend to want to go off on a tangent I get back into God’s word and I believe he is taking care of her and I trust him. I have to trust him always, it doesn’t mean you don’t feel to cry sometimes, you still miss her, but God never makes mistakes.”
Anne and Denise lived together at St Ann’s. They were also both regular parishioners at the St Finbar’s Roman Catholic Church, Diego Martin. According to investigators, Denise’s disappearance was a great mystery to them. Denise made lunch, and dressed in home clothes, she drove out of the driveway in her aqua-blue Toyota Yaris, PBT 9228. No one knew where Denise was headed that day. She never returned.
During their search, the Barcant family went around the country, hoping that Denise would be found. They even hired planes to conduct an air search, in the event Denise could have gone over a cliff.
Glenda Charles-Harris, a Costaatt lecturer, disappeared in April 2015 and has not been seen since.
Her Nissan Almera motor car was discovered at Lengua Road, Indian Walk, three days after her disappearance. Her car keys and personal documents were found in the car. These are just some of the kidnappings which remain unsolved.