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Skyers family worries case will go cold - Ananda Dean’s father says cops not doing enough to hunt child killers

Published:Tuesday | June 25, 2019 | 12:21 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer

Two months after eight-year-old Shantae Skyers was raped, murdered and her body dumped in bushes on her way home from school in her rural St Andrew community, relatives are afraid her attacker could escape justice as investigators are still trying to piece the clues together.

A police source told The Gleaner that sleuths probing the incident that rocked the nation in mid-April are no closer to identifying the culprit than they were then.

In addition, the three men who were detained for questioning in the aftermath have since been released because of a lack of evidence linking them to the murder.

“We are still, however, awaiting the forensic report from the lab, but it’s a painstaking wait, which we have no control over,” the source said.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, one officer close to the ongoing investigations told The Gleaner that the police are uncertain as to when they will get to see the results from forensic report.

“The police have been making periodic contact with the lab, but we are unable to say when the results will be in our hands. In the meantime, we are still carrying out further investigations – the teams from the Major Investigation Division and the St Andrew North Police Division,” said the source.

Skyers’ paternal grandmother, Norma Hylton, said the family needs closure and they are hoping that the long wait for answers will end soon.

Hylton said that she tried to get an update from detectives last week and they promised to call her.

“I am still waiting on that call,” she told The Gleaner. “The truth is that we hardly hear anything from the police and that hurts us even more. We feel really bad because the killer could still be there in the community, waiting to do that to another little girl again.

“Her mother lives elsewhere, but I feel her pain and I know she is not handling it well either,” said Hylton.

More than a decade after the murder of Ananda Dean, an 11-year-old girl who went missing on her way home from school in St Andrew in September 2008 and after whom the child recovery system has been named, her case still numbers among hundreds still unsolved.

With more than 20 children murdered since the start of the year, Ananda’s father, Richard Dean, believes that enough is not being done to bring child killers and abusers to justice.

“I believe that there is not enough effort from the police to solve these crimes. It’s been 10 years now and the person who killed my daughter is still a free man. On top of that, I hardly ever hear from the police anymore,” he told The Gleaner.

“I feel for those families,” Dean said as he reflected on the recent cases. “It is a stark reminder of what I am going through 10 years later since my daughter was taken from us.”