ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Police claim relatives of Anisha Millette – the teenager found dead at Devil’s Bridge two Saturdays ago – did not readily provide information needed to help find her after she ran away from home in June.
Senior Sergeant William Holder of the Strategic Communications (STRATCOM) Department told OBSERVER Media yesterday that more was needed from the family which has since accused authorities of mishandling reports of the child running away and breaching her 6 pm curfew.
“Even with the repeat offenders, a lot of times it is not so much the police – a lot of times it is the parents when they don’t readily report the incident and this was one where, weeks after, the police were actually alerted,” the senior officer said.
Holder said in the normal course of events, someone must file a report of the person missing whether or not it is a repeat offender.
He added the police would publicise a photograph of the missing person if that individual were not found within 48 hours of the report.
“Whether it is a repeat offender or not, as long as the necessary information is forthcoming to the police officer, the police would launch the search. Even from STRATCOM, normally after 48 hours we ask the parent to provide a photograph and even to provide a number,” Holder stressed.
The lawman said the procedure had worked in similar previous cases.
“That is how they are picked up, because we got photos of them and we published it and persons from the communities were able to say, yes we have seen this person in a particular area, and the police normally go and find that person and if there are persons to be brought to court they are prosecuted for harbouring such a child in their premises,” the officer said.
Meantime, while Millette’s mother, Natasha Goodwin, readily admits to not wanting her daughter’s photograph to be published at the time, she said she saw no reason for doing so since she was receiving constant updates from relatives and friends on the child’s whereabouts.
She said on more than one occasion she reported to police where the child was, the last time being July 4, three days before the body was discovered naked on the shoreline at Devil’s Bridge.
Police are probing the circumstances surrounding the death.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)