By MORGAN ADDERLEY
Tribune Staff Reporter
TWO women are in police custody in relation to four incidents of child abduction, Chief Superintendent Solomon Cash said yesterday.
The main suspect - a 29-year-old woman who police suspect is allegedly responsible for four of the abductions - was arrested late on Saturday at an address in eastern New Providence.
The second suspect, a 35-year-old woman, is believed to have been an accomplice in one of the abductions. She was arrested in Eleuthera.
CSP Cash told The Tribune the women are Bahamian nationals “as far as (police) know”. He added police are not currently looking for any other suspects in relation to these matters.
These arrests came in the wake of an alleged abduction attempt of an 11-year-old boy last Tuesday.
The boy’s mother, who spoke to The Tribune on the condition of anonymity, said her son was making his way home from school when he was approached by a woman in a silver coloured car parked at a Shell gas station. The woman beckoned to the child, and reportedly asked him if he wanted a pair of sunglasses. Fortunately, her son was able to escape the woman’s clutches.
CSP Cash did not confirm that particular matter to The Tribune yesterday as he underscored a need to protect the integrity of the investigation as well as the identity of their sources.
Speaking generally, he noted CCTV is a part of police strategy when it came to investigations.
However, CSP Cash provided more information on the arrests during a press conference held Sunday.
New Providence residents were terrorised by a spate of peculiar abduction incidents primarily targeting young boys that began February 16.
Police suspect the individuals in custody can help their investigations into all but two of the abductions — one of which was a domestic matter and has since been closed. The other, involving a young girl in Culmersville, is still under investigation.
“Let me say that since these incidents have started to occur we were committed to our investigations,” CSP Cash said during the press conference.
“We had opened a major incident room which is compromised of various resources from within the police force, including our technical and intelligence resources.
“With that we were able to launch a full-scale investigation which led us to the point today that we can be conclusive in saying that we suspect that both individuals we have in custody are responsible for these incidences,” he alleged.
The principal suspect is being questioned by police in connection with four matters. The second woman is being questioned in connection with an incident that occurred on February 16.
He added at this time, officers are not looking for any additional suspects.
When asked about a possible motive, CSP Cash said based on police intelligence, “These persons or these kids were just left unattended to and the suspect, based on our information, just took them away from their place of comfort, with no intent of harming them.”
Regarding the principal suspect’s mental state, CSP Cash said: “I cannot speak to the mental state, but I can say that we have no record of the individual being involved or admitted to any mental institutions.”
Neither suspect was known to police.
Officers also have the younger suspect’s silver coloured Nissan Tilda in custody, which is currently being processed “in an effort to identify any physical evidence.”
While CSP Cash declined to disclose whether any of the victims identified the suspect, he did note they assisted with the investigation.
“Of course…they were able to provide us with the composite of this particular individual and I can conclude the composite is similar in characteristic to the individual we have in custody, the 29 year old.”
On Tuesday, the mother who alleged that her child was nearly taken said her son was approached by a woman in a silver coloured car.
“When he said she was in a silver car,” the mother told The Tribune, “I say Lord this woman out there kidnapping children in a silver car.
“He’s 11 but looks like an eight or nine year old,” she continued.
“Me and my husband decided starting in January that we would let him start to catch the bus because he’s going in grade 7. On Tuesday after school he came home, and I usually train them not to take anything from strangers and not to speak to strangers.
“He came home and said a lady give this to me, and it was a sunglasses. He said a lady was in the parking lot by Shell and she call me and give it to me.
“He said there was a lady in the car who said ‘come here lil man’, so he said he went to the car but didn’t go close. And when he went to the car she ask him if he want the sunglasses, but he told her no.
“. . .He was still a little hesitant I guess and she drop the sunglasses on the floor and told him to pick it up. He eventually picked up the glasses and he walked away.”
The mother said: “When he came home and told me what she said, I shout. It was too weird, a complete stranger calling a child.”
The mother said she reported the incident at the Carmichael Road police station on Tuesday, but felt so disturbed that she called CDU to directly report what her child had said.
She said an officer called her back around 2am on Wednesday, and a car was sent to pick up her and her son from their home around 5.30am to go to CDU.
“She just need to come off the streets, I pray it’s her that they caught because that’s so scary,” the mother said.
CSP Cash also thanked the public for their assistance in this matter while continuing to admonish parents to “supervise kids at all times.”
CSP Cash added that officers have already consulted with the Department of Public Prosecutions on this matter and are hopeful they will be able to say “whether and what charges will be levied against these persons at the end of the week.”
On March 29, shortly after 9pm, an eight-year-old boy was lured from his home on Fox Hill Road south into a silver coloured car and later dropped off near the New Providence Landfill. According to police, the woman also tried to lure a 10-year-old boy as well, but the second child walked away.
On March 7, shortly before 4pm, three boys were taken: two eight-year-olds and a ten-year-old. The boys were walking on Kool Acres Road in eastern New Providence when “they were picked up by a female who was the lone occupant” of a dark coloured vehicle, police said.
The two eight-year-olds were initially dropped off by a Haitian village in the vicinity of Seabreeze and Joe Farrington Road.
The ten-year-old was dropped off later by the city dump.
The day before, March 6, eight-year-old Tyvon Deveaux was abducted by a lone female driver in a silver-coloured Japanese-model vehicle. He was later dropped off by the entrance to the dump on Tonique Williams Darling Highway.
On February 16, three-year-old Shavar Bain was abducted from outside his home and then left frightened and alone outside a Fox Hill washhouse several hours later, sparking a manhunt for two women believed to be the abductors.
On March 3, an eight-year-old girl was abducted from her home by an alleged male perpetrator. She was discovered walking in the area of Woodlawn Gardens a short time after the abduction by a passer-by and taken to the Wulff Road Police Station.