Families of missing persons urge police to get outside help

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As murder accused Mikhail Gomes is remanded to prison until July 19 for the alleged killing of Vincia James, grieving relatives of other missing people and victims of unsolved murders are calling on the government to bring in outside investigators and to set up a special cold case review team.
Reginald and Genita Joshua – parents of missing woman Keriann Joshua; Joey “Hungry Bird” Medica brother of murder victim Michael “Rocky” Adams-Medica; Natasha Goodwin, mother of murdered teen Anisha Millette; and Wayne Powell – husband of murdered mom Susan Powell were among those who spoke with OBSERVER media yesterday after they heard the news of the development in James’ case.
Gomes was charged with murder on Tuesday, with the police alleging he killed James on April 7, the same day she disappeared. Her body has not been found.
“I suggest they bring in Scotland Yard and they need to do some training, plus we need to bring back officers like Tony Smith who would really keep going after these guys,” Reginald Joshua said.
It has been four years and four months since his daughter disappeared without a trace. At the time, she was living in Gray’s Farm and she was 24 years old.
The 74-year-old father added, “Things are different now with the police force, back then they would lock up the person, release them and watch their moves and then lock them up again … some might argue he has human rights but you have to remember there’s a body you can’t find.”
His daughter was last seen and heard from on January 12, 2013. He said a special team of officers should be assigned all the cold cases which need to be reopened.
“Up to Saturday, we were at a church service and we were crying, right now [during the interview yesterday] my wife is crying. It is hard and we need closure. They need to get Scotland Yard,” he emphasised.
The man’s wife said these past four plus years have been difficult for the family.
“Every day you get up, you worry where can she be. I know exactly what Vincia’s mother is going through because this is what I am going through for years. Our daughter wasn’t the kind of person who would go a day without calling and checking up on us and it seems the police just forget about Keriann. They didn’t even give her case the big attention they are giving this one and I believe if they had done more we would have found her,” the 67-year-old Potters woman said.
Well-known taxi driver “Hungry Bird” Medica, expressed a similar sentiment as his brother’s murder remains unsolved since December 30, 2012.
“We need to get Scotland Yard in here because we have so many missing persons in this little Antigua and so many people killed and it is unsolved, no clue, no trace who did it,” he said.
Medica said the four and half years since his brother – a food vendor – was gunned down on lower Independence Drive, have been “painful.”
“It’s painful because we still don’t have closure. We don’t know who did it, why they did it and we don’t get justice. That girl Vincia, her parents don’t know what happened to her so it must be hard. We know somebody shot my brother, but we have no idea who and this needs to be solved. The killer is out there walking among us, it could be somebody I know, you know, somebody knows him,” he said.
Widower Wayne Powell finds himself in the same position, asking himself why and who gunned down his wife in Heritage Quay on February 26, 2013.
He believes that the police can and should be able to do more to solve crime, saying that they need to be more strategic and respond faster that they do.
The father of five, however added, that while the community wants better service from the police, residents must bear in mind when the criminals are planning their crime, they don’t invite the police to tell them what they’re about to do and where they will hide the evidence.
“When there is a crisis, or a death or a tragedy, for the first day, everybody is out there and they’re there the first week but after the burial, there’s no body and nobody says anything,” he said.
He’s also of the view that the police need to engage the community more.
“They can do like the politicians, split the areas into constituencies, get the community watch groups in place, people need to come together and be the ears and eyes of the police, share information and the police need to work with us. I don’t know why the people don’t come forward because here in Antigua, the police are not like the police in Jamaica,” he said.
Powell said he was happy to see the communities come together to search for James, but said the searches dwindled very quickly.
“I was saying at first maybe she’s young and rebellious, you know, giving her parents a hard time but then as time passed, I said ‘no, this is more serious than that’. And since then, because of my own situation, it has affected me badly and I can imagine what the family is feeling right now,” he said.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)
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