ROSEAU, Dominica (CMC) – Search and rescue teams were on Saturday continuing the search for a 12-year-old schoolgirl, who was abducted from her home located on the western coast of Dominica on Tuesday night, with Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit saying that the incident should not be used to describe the island as an unsafe destination.
Deputy Police Commissioner Lincoln Corbett called on Kian Alexander, the man suspected of kidnapping Kernisha Etienne, to surrender himself and urged civilians who are involved in the search not to engage in any vigilante justice.
“Kian Darrell Alexander… if you are hearing us or you can get the message from us, just surrender yourself please. Bring in the child and surrender yourself and get this thing over and done with. The young lady really and truly needs to be with her family,” Corbett told a news conference.
He said that the authorities have not been “getting any credible leads as yet to the whereabouts of the young lady or the suspect, and regardless of that we are pushing…as hard as we can.”
“We have had many reports of sightings all over the place. Over 10, 12, 15 maybe and we have followed every one of them but so far we have not been successful,” the senior police officer said, adding that the police are adjusting the search operation as it relates to the public.
Assistant Superintendent in charge of the Southern Division, Leana Edwards, told reporters earlier this week that the child was abducted from her home in Belles, a small village, around 11.30 pm (local time) by Alexander, a “suspected lunatic”.
Edwards said that before the abduction, the man had gone to the home of his uncle, Laurent Joseph Bruno, and attacked him with a cutlass inflicting serious wounds to his head and face.
“Thereafter, he abducted 12-year-old Kernisha Etienne, the adopted daughter of Laurent Joseph Bruno, and disappeared with her into the bushes of Warner. Laurent Joseph Bruno was transported in a conscious state to the Dominica China Friendship Hospital (DCFH) for medical attention,” she said.
Skerrit, speaking during a news conference at the Command Centre in Warner, west of here, praised the police and the population for their efforts so far in seeking to free the school child and appealed also to Alexander to give himself up.
“We continue to treat the situation at hand with the highest priority. The police continue to be provided with all the resources they have requested,” Skerrit said, noting that more than 100 police officers are involved in the search and rescue operation.
“I want to say to you we continue to receive assistance externally, the French, the RSS (Regional Security System) and we are also discussing and finalising assistance from the US government as well,” he added.
Skerrit told reporters that various aspects of the search and rescue operations would not be disclosed to the public, but urged Dominicans to stay united in the search for the schoolgirl.
He dismissed suggestions that the kidnapping would send a “wrong signal” to the regional and global community about safety concerns saying Dominica is a safe place.