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Mother still searching for child after eight years

Published:Thursday | March 11, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Laura Redpath, Senior Staff Reporter

Five-year-old Rojay King went missing two days after his mother's birthday in 2002.

Janet Hardie, King's mother, described a time in her life where she was depressed, heartbroken and longed for her son.

"I was mentally disturbed," she said, her voice hoarse and broken. "I was wearing pampers. That's how bad it was."

The child's relatives offered $1 million as a reward to anyone who could give them information that would lead to King's whereabouts.

Hardie said, after putting out notice of the reward, she received hundreds of calls over the past eight years.

Prank calls

She recounted the story of someone who called her from Portmore, pretending to be a police inspector. He asked her to put $1,000 worth of credit on his phone so he could talk to her.

"They were just prank calls, just heartless people."

The five-year-old went missing in St Ann on March 10. He went with his family and friends to Laughing Beach, close to Hardie's home.

Her phone rang. She turned her back and answered it. The phone call ended and he was gone.

Hardie became pregnant again and four years ago, she gave birth to a boy.

"Nothing makes me happy," she said. "The only little happiness is having this child."

Put off by police

She said if her missing boy had died, she could have lived with that.

"I would get closure. But I still have this feeling that he's out there. I always read the papers in case there is a child who is searching for his mother."

With time, the pain doesn't get easier for Hardie. She said it gets worse and she doesn't believe the police did everything they could.

"I don't think the police is doing a good job," she said. "The police is just putting me off."

Inspector Steve Brown of the Constabulary Communication Network, said mothers like Hardie can go back to the police and check on how much progress has been made.

"After eight years, maybe we can do a follow-up and send more information like a bulletin. We wouldn't continue searching for a missing person after eight years," he said.

Typically, unsolved cases for seven years are closed.

Hardie did not know about the system in place for children who are found by the police but aren't picked up by their parents. Her next step is to check with orphanages.

Recently, a Clarendon mother, Winnifred Duncan, reunited with her son 20 years after he had been reported missing and taken by the police to a place of safety. He spent 14 years of his life raised in an orphanage.