We were in danger, says woman locked in by Smith
Airbnb renter says cult pastor barged in with band of boys
WESTERN BUREAU: Still traumatised after allegedly being padlocked behind the gates of the late Kevin O. Smith’s Coral Gardens home in St James, transformational mind coach Sabrina Fisher Reece says God told her to jump the fence and free herself...
Still traumatised after allegedly being padlocked behind the gates of the late Kevin O. Smith’s Coral Gardens home in St James, transformational mind coach Sabrina Fisher Reece says God told her to jump the fence and free herself and her family.
In a tearful interview from her home in California on Wednesday, Fisher Reece said she did not realise the grave risk she and her family faced when she rented the Hatfield Meadows mansion on Airbnb in February 2020.
“There is a reason this all came back full circle because I never would have known what danger we were actually in, or whose presence we were in; somebody who is capable of the things he has done,” she told The Gleaner.
Smith was about to be charged for the murder of a congregant during an October 17 church ritual when he died on Monday in a crash while being transported from Montego Bay to Kingston.
He also served a six-month sentence in a Canadian prison for the sexual assault of a 21-year-old man. Smith’s Pathways International Kingdom Restoration Ministries has been widely condemned as a cult.
Fisher Reece’s problems at the Airbnb home started 48 hours after arriving in Jamaica. She said Smith appeared the next day although she had completed the home-sharing transaction through a woman who, reportedly, had sold her home to Smith.
“Smith was expected to take possession two days after we left, and we saw that on the papers produced by the previous owner, but he barged in on us, fired the staff, and moved in four young boys on us,” Fisher Reece said.
The hostage-taking claim, first publicly recounted in a YouTube video posted more than a year ago, has been revived since the deadly sacrificial ritual at the Pathways church. Fisher Reece said she would never have suspected Smith of being anything more than a charismatic, although she considered him narcissistic.
“Although he behaved as if we were boarders and not actually paying guests, we knew it was important to make the best of our situation,” she said.
A TURN FOR THE WORSE
First-time visitors to Jamaica, Fisher Reece said their fun-filled vacation took a turn for the worse when Smith reportedly shut off the hot water permanently. Soon after, Smith’s boys feasted on their curried goat dinner. The last straw was when Smith ordered the houseman to turn off the air conditioning.
“He said he didn’t want to be saddled with hefty utility bills after we left, yet the bills were still in the name of the previous homeowner,” she lamented, replaying the hellish environment that reportedly confronted the party of 10.
When they tried to check out two days before their scheduled departure date, owing to the withdrawal of hot water and air-condition privileges, that is when Fisher Reece and her companions said they realised they were actually Smith’s prisoners.
“[Name redacted] became angry because we decided to leave, saying we were rude and couldn’t leave. When we checked the gates, they were padlocked,” she told The Gleaner.
A scared Fisher Reece said she was forced to throw her suitcases over the fence and help to safety her nine-month-old grandchild, her 25-year-old pregnant daughter, and her friend’s twins.
Fisher Reece said she thought Smith was trying to shake them down for more than the US$2,300 in rental she had paid. Today, she wonders if Smith’s intentions may have been more sinister.
Showing Th e Gleaner a receipt she received after reporting the matter at the Coral Gardens Police Station, Fisher Reece is disappointed with how the cops handled the complaint.
“After the police took our report and we went back to the station to get a physical report, nothing was filed in the book and they feigned not recognising me although I had been there a few nights before,” said Fisher Reece, adding that the police did nothing substantive beyond visiting the premises.
She said that letters to the Jamaican Consulate have gone unanswered.
When The Gleaner contacted the Coral Gardens Police Station on Thursday, the officer on duty said he was unaware of the matter, and the sergeant authorised to speak on the claim could not be reached for comment.
Honorary consul in Los Angeles, Joy Stephenson Laws, said she has no recollection of a report being made by Fisher Reece about her experiences at the Airbnb property in St James.
“I would have acted on it because it would have stood out,” she said.
Stephenson Laws said that it was possible that such a report might have been made to the previous honorary consul.