Thu | Jul 2, 2020

Abduction: A hellish nightmare (Part 1)

Published:Sunday | June 7, 2020 | 12:09 AMKaren Oliver - Gleaner Writer
Victims of abductions are forever traumatised by the ordeal
Victims of abductions are forever traumatised by the ordeal

The horrifying ordeal of being abducted is an unending heartache that many victims are forced to live with. It’s a hellish nightmare that forever haunts them.

For three women who experienced abduction, the psychological and mental trauma continues to be their greatest challenge.

Carla Brown* was abducted from her Corporate Area home a few years ago. These days, getting a good night’s rest isn’t an easy task, and by 4 a.m. she is usually wide awake and alert.

“The least little sound gets me frightened. I would shake and my heart would beat so fast that I feel like I’m getting a heart attack,” she shared with The Sunday Gleaner.

She has also had to deal with upset stomach and loss of appetite. And whenever a male approaches her car, she gets terrified.

Carla’s ordeal started when she awoke one early morning to the presence of an unmasked young man standing over her bed with a chopper, from her kitchen, in his hand.

“He told me not to make a sound. I looked out of the corner of my eye and saw another man at my daughter’s room door with two long knives, one in each hand,” she related.

The men proceeded to remove several items from her home, which they packed into her car. They then forced her to go with them to an ATM to withdraw funds from her accounts. She was ordered into the driver’s seat. One of the abductors sat beside her in the front, while the other sat in the back holding the chopper at her neck.

“I proceeded to the security barrier. The one behind me stretched across and wound down my window to my chin. When the security saw my face, he opened the barrier and I exited the complex,” she said.

BLINDFOLDED

On leaving the compound, one of the robbers took control of the car and placed her in the back where she was blindfolded. They stopped at a house and invited another man to join them to go to the ATM, but he was left behind because the vehicle was packed to capacity.

They drove to another location where they unloaded the stolen items. On their way to the ATM, the kidnappers got into an altercation with another motorist. Carla heard what appeared to be a gunshot, presumably fired by the robbers, as their conversation afterwards suggested. The robbers sped off and crashed. A tyre was blown out but they continued driving nonetheless until the car came to a sudden halt. She then heard the doors open and close.

“After about two minutes, I removed the blindfold and realised that I was alone in the car,” she recounted.

After surveying her surroundings, she recognised that she was across the road from her residence.

The worried mother ran home, relieved to find her daughter physically unharmed. She relocated the next day and has since installed a home security system.

Carla believes that remaining calm and complying with the directives of the robbers saved her life.

To date, there has been no breakthrough in the case and none of her possessions have been recovered.

DESERTED ROAD

For Nadine Sawyers*, a resident of a rural parish, her kidnapping is still very fresh in her mind despite the trauma occurring more than 20 years ago. She now suffers from panic attacks and depression, and she is distrustful of males, particularly those unfamiliar to her.

Her nightmare happened on the day she was returning to work for the first time after being on maternity leave.

“I was running late because I had been waiting for over two hours for a ride. Out of desperation, I accepted a ride from a decent-looking, well-spoken man,” she explained.

During a cordial conversation, the driver suddenly turned off on to a deserted road and ordered her out of the car. She used the opportunity to flee in the opposite direction, and managed to reach the main road in time to be picked up by a passing motorist who took her to the police station.

Nadine disclosed that she had memorised the licence plate number of the car before entering. Despite supplying this critical information to the police, no arrest had been made to date.

The ordeal was so traumatic for her that she couldn’t leave her home for three months and had to get professional counselling to cope.

“I used to get frequent flashbacks. I’m extremely wary of my surroundings, even though I’m now driving myself,” she stated.

Similarly, Sophia Sinclair* of Portmore was kidnapped 25 years ago after accepting a ride from a stranger.

“I was at a bus stop waiting to get to school. This strange car stopped and the driver offered me a ride. I was a bit apprehensive, and he said he understands. He reassured me that I could trust him. After his convincing approach, I felt a bit safe and entered the car. He was very polite and was not behaving in any way suspicious. He even stopped to talk to a person that I knew and so I was even more comfortable,” she related.

Sophia noted that the driver was very polished in appearance and speech, and had an accent that was of another Caribbean island. After driving a short distance, however, she became suspicious.

“He turned in the opposite direction and asked for a few minutes to drop off something, but he proceeded to carry me to a remote area in Hellshire. I talked to him and showed him some consequences that might result from him taking advantage of me. I told him that my friend, whom he stopped to talk with, would know that he was the last person seen with me if he should kill me. He then had a change of heart and was apologetic. He took me straight to school.”

She believes her ability to remain calm and reason with her abductor helped to dissuade him of his nefarious intentions. While the incident frightened her, she had to deal with the trauma by herself as she was too embarrassed to share the ordeal out of fear that she would be ridiculed for her unwise decision. Besides, she said, had her parents known about the incident, they would have curtailed her movements.

Data from the Statistics and Information Management Unit of the Jamaica Constabulary Force revealed that 731 persons were abducted within the past five years. Of that number, 94 per cent were females.

Next week: Dealing with the aftermath of being abducted

* Names changed to protect identity.

karen.oliver@gleanerjm.com