Well-known St Ann horticulturist missing

BY DEANDRA MORRISON
Online reporter
morrisond@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

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“In the twinkling of an eye he was gone,” said Melrose Watson, who remains in disbelief that her husband, Robert Watson, also known as “Farmer”, disappeared without a trace last week Tuesday.

Melrose said her 60-year-old husband was last seen wearing a green shirt, blue shorts, and black slippers near his home in the Pleasant Valley area of Belle Air in Runaway Bay, St Ann, between 4:15 pm and 4:30 pm.

She also told the Jamaica Observer that her husband had been suffering from Parkinson's disease and dementia for the past two years, which have affected his motor skills and memory.

Melrose said because of her husband's illness he had to be under constant supervision.

“He tried this before (on the Saturday before he went missing) and we had to take him out of the bushes,” she said while pointing to the thick vegetation behind a house under construction beside the couple's two-storey house.

The couple's nine-year-old son, Robie-Jae, said he last saw his father walking briskly towards the back of the neighbouring house.

“If I did know that this was going to happen I would have followed him” said the primary school student.

Melrose said she was outside tying the family's goats when she also saw her husband going to the back of the house.

“He has some pumpkins that he had planted around there, and it's not unusual for him to go and check on them,” she explained. However, she grew concerned after a few minutes passed and he did not return.

“I don't suspect any foul play because Robert is a good man, most persons — especially those he worked with in the hotel industry — are looking for him to get better. No one would look to harm him,” she insisted.

She said her husband had been working as a horticulturist in the hotel industry in Runaway Bay for over 30 years and, up until 2017, was the landscape director at Jewel Resorts.

“Robert is a kind man, he won't leave anyone behind,” the worried wife said, adding that the father of six was a people person and was well known in the community.

She said his disappearance prompted a frantic search by residents and former colleagues from the hotel industry, but it has so far been to no avail.

“I'm worried that people will see him and not recognise him because of how his illness has affected him physically. People are used to him looking strong and well built and not exactly how he now looks in the picture,” she said, referring to the missing person flyer she was clutching.

“I've got reports that people have seen him near Dover (in Runaway Bay) and that he is in a jacket and is picking up garbage, but when we went and looked we didn't see him,” she said.

She added that a $10,000 reward is being offered to anyone who knows her husband's whereabouts as well as for his safe return.

In the meantime, Melrose has accused the Runaway Bay police of not doing enough to help.

“They came on Wednesday and took my statement and I have not seen them back since,” she said, adding that on the day she reported her husband missing the police used flashlights to search the premises around 10:00 pm.

“I asked if they had dogs to use and they said no — the search dogs are only in Kingston. But I'm wondering, is only in Kingston people go missing?” she asked in apparent frustration.

However, head of the Runaway Bay Police Station Inspector Christopher Faulkner insisted that the police had conducted multiple searches but had found no traces of the missing man.

He also confirmed that no search dogs were available to assist in the effort.

“Where is he? Where is he sleeping, and why has he left the comfort of his home?” the distressed wife asked, adding that despite suggestions from her neighbours to start looking for signs that would suggest that her partner of 25 years was no longer alive, she was hoping for the best.

Anyone with information that can lead to the return of Robert Watson to his family is being asked to contact the Runaway Bay Police Station or 571-4188, 337-4418 or 570-8972.

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