Fri | Sep 22, 2023

Search in vain for missing St Ann teacher; police believe she is still alive

Published:Thursday | October 7, 2021 | 9:24 AM
Members of a search team on October 6, 2021, seeking to locate missing St Ann teacher Ruchelle Williams - Carl Gilchrist photo.

Carl Gilchrist, Gleaner Writer 

Chasing all leads that appeared credible, a search party nevertheless came up empty-handed on Wednesday in the hunt to locate Marcus Garvey Technical High School teacher Ruchelle Williams who has been missing since September 15. 

The search party, consisting of a team from the school led by principal Anniona Jones, representatives from the Jamaica Teachers' Association and the Ministry of Education, teachers from several other institutions, among others, turned out to support commander for the St Ann police, Senior Superintendent Dwight Powell and the police team.  

Separated into several teams, the crews combed sections of Golden Grove, the Lydford Housing Scheme, Claremont, Moneague, and other areas where residents claimed to have seen someone resembling Williams.

A Golden Grove resident reported that he saw Williams by the Lydford Housing Scheme last week Friday, but a team that went there, scouring the area, speaking to residents and handing out flyers, came up empty-handed. 

A similar situation existed after reports of sightings in Moneague led another search party in that direction, only to draw blank even after journeying to Ewarton after a taxi driver reported that he saw a woman fitting the description walking down Mount Rosser on Wednesday morning.  

It was a frustrating day for the various search teams, as they came up with nothing after a second large-scale search, which brought back memories of frantic searches made for another teacher, Nattalie Dawkins, of Clarendon, who went missing on March 30.  

Those searches ended in despair as her remains were found in bushes in the parish on April 8 and two men charged after confessing to abducting and murdering the teacher. 

Wednesday's searches might have yielded nothing, but hope still prevails that Williams remains alive. 

“Nothing [came from the searches] but we are encouraged, we got some useful information that is suggesting to us that she is still alive,” said a hopeful Powell, after the search had ended shortly before 5 o'clock.

Powell said similar searches would be conducted once information reaches the police. 

“As soon as we have something that we can act on we're not setting a timeline, if we get something then a team will be on the job,” he said.

One of Williams' colleagues at Marcus Garvey Technical, Latoya Chambers-Hogg, described her as being quiet and kind and said her disappearance has been emotional for staff.

“It's a feeling of deep concern, and it's a feeling of uncertainty but we're still holding on as a family,” Chambers-Hogg told The Gleaner

“I am hoping that we will actually find Ruchelle alive and this issue that is eating us inside emotionally can be drawn to a close,” she added.

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