British mission lends support to parents of murdered girl

Sunday, May 19, 2019

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The British High Commission in Jamaica is keeping close contact with the parents of 17-year-old Stefica Smith, whose mutilated body was found in a cane field in Four Paths, Clarendon one week ago.

Late last week reports reaching the Jamaica Observer were that British officials in the island were taking a keen interest in the case of Stefica, who was born in England but moved to Jamaica with her parents over four years ago.

According to the reports, the British officials were in touch with the local police and had offered any support they need to bring the killer, or killers, to justice.

But there was no confirmation from the High Commission when the Sunday Observer sought to clarify its role in the investigation.

“We are supporting the family of a British teenager who was reported missing in Jamaica, and our staff [members] are in close contact with the Jamaican police,” the High Commission said in a brief response to questions.

Stefica was reported missing on Saturday, May 11 and her body found two days later. A taxi operator was taken into custody for questioning in connection with her murder.

Last Friday Stefica's mother complained that the police were tardy in starting the search for her despite recent instructions from Commissioner of Police Major General Antony Anderson that all missing persons are to be reported to the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) immediately, so that a response can be initiated.

This was expected to end the practice were members of the JCF were telling persons to wait 24 hours before reporting someone missing.

“Instructions have been given for the response mechanism and protocols around missing persons to be reviewed with the view of ensuring that the JCF's response is in keeping with international best practices for the safe recovery of missing persons,” directed Anderson as he responded to the death of Shantae Skyers, the eight-year-old girl whose body was found in Sterling Castle Heights, Red Hills, St Andrew.

Shantae had been reported missing on Thursday, April 11 and her body found dumped in bushes five days later.

Her family members had also criticised the police for their delay in starting the search for the missing child.

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