One month on: Shamar’s relatives cling to hope as they await DNA results on human remains

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Missing teen, Shamar Harrigan
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By Shermain Bique-Charles

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Distraught relatives of missing autistic teenager Shamar Harrigan have provided DNA samples to the forensic lab, in hopes that the identity of the skeletal remains found near the Willikies salt pond will bring some closure.

Harrigan’s sister Shauntelle Barton told Observer yesterday that forensic experts took a swab from the family earlier this week, and made a second promise to expedite the process, given the urgency of the situation.

“They haven’t said when the results will be ready but they told us again that they will work with urgency. We were able to go and get the swabs done so they could have our DNA. We are just waiting,” Barton said.

Wednesday marked a month since Harrigan left his Willikies home on November 14. He has not been seen since.

On December 7, relatives plus members of local NGO the Blue Dragonfly Foundation, the police and their K9 Unit, and other volunteers conducted a search in the Willikies area where the 19-year-old’s clothes, shoes and backpack – items he was last seen wearing – were discovered.

And even after these discoveries, Barton said hope remains alive, irrespective of how small.

“There were times we felt like giving up. We have been struggling to hold on but hope is keeping us alive. The matter is still a sensitive topic for our mom. She doesn’t want to believe that it is Shamar’s remains that were found.

“We try not to tell her too much because she will go into an emotional state,” Barton explained.

“If he is still alive then it means someone must be giving him clothes. Someone has to be in his company because he would not be alive on his own after all this time. We are baffled. We are in a state of shock,” she added.

There have been multiple searches for Harrigan conducted via both air and land in the last four weeks.

A $5,000 reward for information leading to his discovery was also offered by St Phillip’s North Member of Parliament, Sir Robin Yearwood.

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