North & East

Missing without a trace

Family still hurting for teen who went missing 4 years ago

Observer staff reporter

Monday, September 17, 2018

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MANY parents are still celebrating their child's success in the recent Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination, but one St Ann family is still searching for answers four years after their loved one went missing.

Shanel Hurd was 15 years old when she left home in St Ann.

Her family now imagines that she would have been among those who are now moving on to university or pursuing their careers.

August 11, 2014 will forever be etched in the minds of Hurd's family members. They would like to forget that day, however, the fact that Hurd never returned home or that her body was never found has caused closure to escape them. She had left home to meet her boyfriend.

Maxine Brown Thompson, the teen's grandmother, told the Jamaica Observer North & East recently that her family is still seeking answers.

“We no hear nothing new in recent times,” Brown Thomas said, adding that the family is not certain Hurd's case is still open.

According to Brown Thomas, the family was called in by the police to do multiple deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) tests. In one instance skeletal remains were found in St Ann last year, however, there was no match.

The family was subsequently called in for a second time after a young woman's body was discovered in the parish. All hope faded when the result was shared.

“She would be 19 this year; she was 15 at the time,” Brown Thompson said.

She said her family is desperately seeking closure, but not knowing what happened to Hurd or if she is alive hurts them daily.

She was reportedly last seen with her then boyfriend in the neighbouring parish of St Mary.

Hurd's grandmother is now urging teens to be careful as they go about their business, and to be vigilant at all times.

“My advice to young people is to be vigilant and observant because so many bad things are happening in our world today and young people are the more targeted ones, including girls and boys,” she said.

“Listen to your parents or guardian. Don't let anyone invite you out or to their homes because you might not come back home, because my granddaughter went to her boyfriend house four years ago and never return home. She was only 15 years old. There were parents living there at the time so young people, please be careful,” she added.

She warned that even people who seem trustworthy can cause harm.

“Some people who we see, sometimes they have the mind of a demon. Even when on the streets don't walk alone, make sure people are there — and I mean a lot, not only one, two or three persons. If you attend school, go straight home in the evenings and don't idle until it gets dark.”

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