By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
WHILE recent child abductions have sparked fear in some communities in New Providence, Royal Bahamas Police Force Commissioner Anthony Ferguson said police are following good leads and suggested the situation was under control.
As he moved to quell concerns, the commissioner yesterday also seemed to downplay the frequency and severity of the issue, telling reporters that not all of the incidents reported were actually considered kidnappings. He said as far as police were concerned only three of the cases fell into this category and were being looked at seriously. However, he did not specify which cases were ruled out as abductions.
Nonetheless, he said, police were following significant leads.
This, despite Inspector Leonardo Burrows on Sunday telling The Tribune police did not have leads and were challenged with getting people to come forward with information that could lead to the arrest of the person responsible for the abduction of three boys who were taken and returned last Thursday.
“Let me say straight out the crack of the gun, the Bahamian people can be assured that we have this situation under hand,” Commissioner Ferguson said yesterday following a guard changing ceremony at police headquarters.
“I was advised this morning by the assistant commissioner of crime management, who, along with his team, is actively investigating this matter. They are following significant leads and we will continue to bring these investigations to closure.”
He continued: “But I will say all of the incidents are not categorised as kidnapping and so about three of those are matters that we’re looking seriously at.
“One of the matters involving where a family member came home and met the child at home by their self and they took them at that location.
“So the Bahamian people need not be in any state of panic. The Royal Bahamas Police Force, along with members of the public, is actively involved in this matter and so I expect pretty shortly we should be able to bring some resolution to this situation.”
Police confirmed last Friday that three boys were taken in last Thursday’s incident and not two as the officer initially reported.
In that abduction, all of the boys were relatives. They were later released unharmed.
Two were eight years old and the third was ten, police said at the time. Within a 24-hour period four boys had been taken, meaning six children were reported abducted in a three-week timeframe.
On Sunday, Inspector Burrows said the cases had no movement, explaining that people were not coming forward with information.
“We aren’t following any other leads other than trying to appeal to members of the public,” Insp Burrows said on Sunday. “The challenge with that (the latest case) is it’s a Haitian Bahamian community and a lot of persons in that community are afraid to come forward.
“We believe that some of them may not be here legally so that has been a challenge for us.
“So we have been trying to check video cameras in the area to see if we can determine a make and model of the vehicle or anything else.”
Regarding Thursday’s incident, police initially said two boys, aged eight and ten, were walking on Kool Acres Road in east New Providence when “they were picked up by a female who was the lone occupant” of a dark-coloured vehicle.
When it was time to drop the boys off, the woman reportedly allowed two to leave, but grabbed the third boy’s hand, keeping him in the vehicle and driving off.
“I tell her bring me back home, she say she bringing me back home now, but she did not,” eight-year-old J’Dakito Sejour told Our News last Friday.
“She drop off them, then she gone through the corner and she gone, she pass by Baha Mar then she drop me by the dump. She tell me go sit on the tyre. Then she gone. Then I start crying. Two cars saw me, they stop and they bring me to the station and they tell me tell them my mommy number and I tell them it and they called my mom.”
Young J’Dakito told Our News he had never seen or spoken to the woman before. “I didn’t know where she was gonna carry me.”
J’Dakito and the older of the two boys were shown the police’s composite sketch of the abductor and both agreed it was the same woman who took them.
But J’Dakito said, “On there she look dark, in the car she was light.”
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 boys were gone for roughly two hours, police said.
On March 6, eight-year-old Tyvon Deveaux was abducted by a woman driver in a silver-coloured Japanese-model vehicle. He was later dropped off by the entrance to the dump on Tonique Williams Darling Highway.
And then 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 was taken to the Wulff Road Police Station.