By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
A MONTH after Hurricane Dorian, some 30 people, including several children, are still missing on Grand Bahama, a top police official confirmed on Wednesday.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Samuel Butler stressed that all efforts have been and are still being made to locate those that are unaccounted for since the storm battered Grand Bahama and Abaco in early September.
Most of the missing Grand Bahama residents are from several East End settlements and one Freeport community that is prone to severe flooding during hurricanes.
“Predominantly, the larger numbers were lost in McLean’s Town, High Rock, and a few would have been over the bridge at Dover Sound at Perimeter Parkway…where we got the brunt of our report, and one at Queen’s Cove, and so we’ve been widespread doing the best we could (searching for them),” ACP Butler said.
“I know that our community is concerned, and the police department is concerned about missing persons…and declared on records we have some 30 persons reported unaccounted for,” he said.
He said police have put all their resources, as well as partnering with other law enforcement agencies in the US and Caribbean, searching for those missing people based on data and information they would have received from day one.
He noted that in the early stages the US Coast Guard conducted flyovers and aerial searches in areas based on reports that people were swept out to sea.
ACP Butler said that searches were conducted by vessels, and along the shorelines. Cadaver dogs from the US were also brought over to assist in the ground search for bodies, he said.
“We done ground searches and going through the marsh, partnering with fire rescue from Florida with special heavy equipment, and also with Peace Riverside K9 Unit from the USA which brought seven cadaver dogs and 14 handlers that worked with our K9 unit, the fire department going out and searching many areas.”
He reported that here had been some 15 to 16 cadaver dog hits which only turned out to be dead animals. However officials have recovered nine bodies from Grand Bahama to date.
Police are committed to bringing closure to as many of the storm-related missing persons cases, said the ACP.
“The search is still ongoing, and we want people to know we will continue to do what we could in hope to bring closure to some of these (cases). We want to the community to know we are here to serve and if they have a concern to come in or call, and my office is open to receive concerns from the community,” he stated.
“We appeal to the community that any piece of information they have is important to the police. So, whether you are seeing something or whether your nostrils are drawn to a particular scent of concern, we would like to receive that information,” he said.
He urged anyone who has not seen or heard from a neighbour since the storm to come in and make a report to the police. He said that anyone can make a missing person’s report.
“In a Family Island setting basically everybody knows everybody, if anybody by any chance is not accounted for we are asking you to be responsible and brave enough to come and say that to the police,” ACP Butler said.
“Once we get a report - it can come from anybody, a concerned neighbour or family member - we will make contact with their next of kin and follow up with them to ensure they are unaccounted for. It is very important, anyone can come in a give a report of missing neighbour,” he said.
• POLICE have released another name of an Abaco resident who went missing during Hurricane Dorian last month.
The missing woman is Rose Marie Lubin, 26, of The Mudd, Abaco. She also lived in Ft Lauderdale, Florida, police said.