'Mi blood a boil'
Abduction of 9-year-old girl angers Bath residentsSaturday, October 16, 2021
By Candice Haughton
Residents of Bath in St Thomas expressed anger yesterday as they continued searching for nine-year-old Phylisa Prussia, whose abduction from her house in the community Thursday evening by a man was captured on closed circuit television (CCTV).
Armed with machetes, sticks and other weapons, the residents vowed to exact jungle justice on the man if they apprehend him, despite the presence of police — who have been leading the large search party since the authorities were alerted.
“A pan di street we sleep a search fi har, and if we [did] catch him we woulda kill him,” said one woman who gave her name only as Miss Simpson.
“Right now mi nuh eat from last night, ennuh. Yuh know mi blood a boil. Dem something yah never happen yet, ennuh. From mi born, a yah so mi grow 'til mi turn big woman,” she said.
Another resident, Harriet Donalds, said, “It is heart-rending. I am from the same community, actually on the same lane [as Phylisa]. All the kids, they play together. There's a swing by my house. The police came [and] they had a search team from last night after eight [o'clock] all the way back until this morning.”
Donalds said the accused abductor is not originally from the community.
“I've been living in Bath for 13 years and I never, never see nothing like this. Based on the footage of the camera he went to the riverside, so we took the river all the way,” she she said, referencing the CCTV footage showing the man leading the child in the direction of the Plantain Garden River.
According to police Sergeant Carlton Brittony, the accused man had attacked a woman at her yard shortly before the abduction. He said the woman put up a fight. Her boyfriend, who was inside their house, heard the commotion, went outside and challenged the man, forcing him to flee.
Sergeant Brittony said the man was charged in Portland with rape and illegal possession of firearm, and, as a condition of his bail, he should not return to the parish unless he is appearing in court.
“This is how he ended up in St Thomas, because he couldn't really stay in Portland and he had people here he could stay with,” Brittony said, explaining that it's typical for courts to include such conditions for bail in certain cases to prevent reprisal from loved ones of the victims or bribery of witnesses.
Caron Barnes, who lived in the community for many years, said she had to return yesterday to join the search on hearing about the incident.
“Is mi niece way from St Ann call mi say if mi nuh hear seh dem kidnap one little girl a Bath,” Barnes told the Jamaica Observer, adding that she fainted on learning the identity of the child.
“A mi bicycle mi ride come down here, because me and dem people deh grow like sister. Right now mi come [and] mi cyaan find di pickney. A pure bawl mi a bawl. Dem yah something yah never happen inna di community yet. Mi a 55 years old and dem something yah never happen yet,” she said.
Last night there was speculation that the suspect had slipped through the search party of approximately 500 people and was back in Portland. The search party comprised personnel from the Jamaica Constabulary Force, Ministry of Health and Wellness, Child Protection and Family Services Agency, Ministry of Justice, and residents.