Relief, tears of joy as kidnapped teen Winshae Barrett found aliveTuesday, October 19, 2021
BY ROMARDO LYONS
There were obvious signs that Tammara Logan was tired. But the joy she felt at finding her 13-year-old daughter Winshae Barrett alive yesterday was visible in her eyes.
“Relief, that is what I feel right now. Relief is the correct word,” Logan said, knowing that her daughter was safe and sound.
“When I saw my daughter, it was tears of joy. The first thing I did was hug her. We are recuperating. She is doing very good. The workers checked up on her at Princess Margaret Hospital and then I got the chance to see her. When mi see mi daughter, I broke down. Mi almost blackout. My blood pressure skyrocketed, but God gave me the strength,” Logan told the Jamaica Observer at her home in Bath, St Thomas.
“She is okay, but her feet are swollen. The man carry her over hills and valleys on her foot. And her body is bigger than mine, so that is a lot of weight on her feet. I actually came home to get some stuff to take back to the hospital,” Logan continued.
Winshae, a student at Morant Bay High School, was reported missing some time after 4:00 pm on Saturday after accompanying her older sister to feed pigs in their backyard. She was found yesterday in heavy foliage outside Spring Bank, a neighbouring community to Bath.
The teenager was snatched just hours after nine-year-old Phylisa Prussia was found alive, nearly two days after being abducted from her home, also in Bath.
Davian Bryan, the main suspect in the kidnapping of Phylisa, was also named by the police as a suspect in Winshae's disappearance.
Police said he is on bail for rape and illegal firearm charges in the neighbouring parish, Portland.
Leaning against a wall on her verandah, Logan recalled being distressed at home yesterday while the search for her daughter was in its second day.
Her phone rang some time before midday.
“Hello,” she answered.
“Dem find har!” an excited relative blurted out.
“I was inside because I was sick. I got a minor issue with my leg. When I got the call I was eager to get to the hospital because the police was with her on their journey to the hospital. I was dying to reach. I just wanted even a glimpse of her to know that she is okay,” Logan told the Observer.
Meanwhile, scores of residents rummaged through bushes during the painstaking hunt, hell-bent on finding and exacting jungle justice on Bryan.
Some, carrying machetes and other home-made weapons, hopped onto the back of police service vehicles to aid in the search for the suspect as the police drove through communities such as Stokes Hall and New Land Avenue, checking bushy areas and abandoned buildings.
“Wi haffi find him today,” residents shouted.
“Mi see him inna the gully an' him run off. Mi see him inna a blue shirt. Mi nah rest until mi find him,” one resident shouted.
“The residents have been very cooperative,” a policeman who was among the search party told the Observer.
“Their effort today is commendable… they are out here with us and they are motivated. They are working with us, and that is good,” he added, rejecting talk of jungle justice.
Kenisha Scott, a mother of three, told the Observer she is dedicated to the hunt because the abduction hit close to home.
“I have two girls and one boy. I am out here because I have kids too... it could've been one of my daughters. I'm praying that we find this culprit who is taking away our young teens and abusing them,” she said.
Tiara Cook, Winshae's older sister who saw her minutes before she was abducted, told the Observer that she hadn't seen her sister since she was rescued.
“I am eager to see her,” she said, smiling. “When it happened to Phylisa, it touched me. And to know my sister was the next victim, it touch me even more.”
Winshae's aunt, StaceyAnn Logan, visited her shortly after she was admitted for medical treatment.
“Mi glad. When the doctors say a my time fi go in and see har, mi just hug har and a rub down har head and kiss har up. Tears of joy was running down, but, otherwise, everything is good. Mi niece, mi love yuh. I love you so much. Everything is going to be alright,” said Logan.
The aunt said she hadn't slept since Thursday, after she learnt about Phylisa's abduction.
“Phylisa's grandmother is my daughter's godmother, so we know the family well. Wi need to catch that man or he will strike again. Wi need fi find him. Wi cyaan afford fi him take no more a wi children dem,” she said.
Marsha Ford-Bryan, acting principal at Morant Bay High School, visited the family yesterday afternoon.
“We came out as a school body to search yesterday [Sunday], and we came out today, and when I got the partially good news today, I was happy she is alive. It is only partial until the man is caught,” Ford-Bryan said.
“Though all staff members aren't here physically, they are here in heart. They were distraught. Some wanted to come out and be a part of the search, but they were worried. They didn't want to leave their kids. We cannot rest until we find him. We are sending over some water tomorrow [today] to facilitate those who are a part of the search. I told Winshae's mom that I am just a phone call away,” she continued.
Yesterday afternoon family members and friends gathered at Winshae's home and hosted what they deemed a “thanksgiving dinner”.
“We give thanks! We a have a thanksgiving dinner… We can't say we are celebrating though because the work is not done. The man still out there. The work only done when we find him,” one man said while sharing food in the kitchen.
A family friend added: “After dinner share now and we eat, a hunting time again. Because mi cyaan sleep until dah bwoy deh get ketch.”