Bath children frozen with fear as abduction suspect still on the run
The abduction saga that triggered fear and anxiety in the usually tranquil community of Bath, St Thomas, continues to wreak havoc among residents. Despite the bittersweet storyline of the rescue of two girls abducted days apart, children have been...
The abduction saga that triggered fear and anxiety in the usually tranquil community of Bath, St Thomas, continues to wreak havoc among residents.
Despite the bittersweet storyline of the rescue of two girls abducted days apart, children have been haunted as the manhunt for the suspect, Davian Bryan, has come up empty.
Petrified children bravely shared with The Gleaner the poignant impact of the two-week-old near-tragedy and how the fugitive’s elusiveness keeps them up at nights.
The first abduction, of a nine-year-old, occurred on October 14 and the second, of a 13-year-old, two days later, only moments after the first girl was located.
Both girls have been hospitalised.
“When it just happened, I couldn’t eat or sleep at all. I didn’t even eat yesterday (Monday) because everything come back to me and mi just never feel fi anything,” said a 15-year-old girl, who lives with her family in Bottom Yard, Bath.
Referencing emerging sleeping problems, the teen revealed that the members of her household, especially the youth, often stay up at night and check on each other at intervals.
“Sometimes if I fall asleep in the nights, I jump up five minutes after to ensure everybody is still in the house even though the place has on padlock. We nuh feel safe,” she said.
The girl and her 18-year-old cousin wore tired eyes and sleep marks across their face after three o’clock on Tuesday afternoon, confirming their testimony that they only rest during the daytime.
The older of the two noted that some level of normality can only come after Bryan has been detained. Even then, according to the teenager, things will never be the same.
“We only stick to our family now. Bath was a good community and the man just come here and corrupt everybody mind,” she added.
Though battling their own unease, parents say they are left to contend with the anxiety of their traumatised children.
One man shared how his daughter refuses to let go off his shirt even within the walls they call home.
Another parent, Karen Marriot, told The Gleaner that her 11-year-old daughter now refuses to sleep alone.
“Any sound she hears, she jumps up. Yesterday in the morning, we were leaving to go look bus to Kingston, and we glimpsed someone and ran back in because we are scared. Usually, we go about our business with ease, but now, our eyes are all over,” she said.
According to Marriot, her daughter seeks her company whenever visiting the bathroom or the kitchen even though both rooms are inside the house.
“She can’t do anything on her own again. She has even cut back on her schoolwork. She is not as focused as she used to be. She just keeps imagining that it could have been her,” the mother said.
Applauding the efforts of the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA), which conducted counselling sessions with the community last week Friday, Marriot shared her hopes for more intervention.
Southeast Regional Director Robert Williams said the visit was timely and relevant as social workers, psychologists, and local guidance counsellors interacted with children and parents in Bath.
“We had to do it because of what has been happening in the community for the past couple of days. It is no question that the children, particularly in Bath, are very fearful at this time,” he said.
Acknowledging the tension in the community, Williams said that the sessions included coping strategies for fear and anxiety.
The CPFSA director said that the group was able to conduct a session with the mother of one of the victims.
Noting that there will be follow-up sessions, Williams said the organisers were determined to help children and parents get over the ordeal.
“Bath is where these children grew up. It is where they play, so they have a right to feel safe in their community,” said Williams.