Teachers vow to continue search for missing colleagueWednesday, September 22, 2021
BROWN'S TOWN, St Ann — Members of the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) have vowed to continue searching for 34-year-old mathematics teacher Ruchelle Williams who has been missing since September 15.
“We are committed to searching for her extensively and will follow every possible lead…. The JTA is anxious to locate our colleague as we join with the staff of Marcus Garvey [High School] who are disturbed by what is happening,” said JTA President Winston Smith, who vowed “no resources will be spared” in the search.
Williams' disappearance comes on the heels of the slaying of 44-year-old Clarendon teacher Nattallie Dawkins, who was abducted at her home in Four Paths on March 30. Two men have been charged with her murder.
Smith said this latest disappearance of one of their own has added to the already frayed nerves of educators who have challenges coping with the changes forced on the profession by COVID-19.
The JTA president was one of more than 50 people who joined in the search for Williams yesterday. The group included teachers from Marcus Garvey High School, the police, as well as the missing teacher's family and friends.
The search began in the Brown's Town communities of Westley Crescent, Top Road, Liberty Valley, Orange Hill, Bottom and Top Goshen, Benin and Minard.
Smith said although they were not successful in locating Williams, the search has now made more people aware that the educator still has not returned home.
“We hope that in short order the police will receive some good leads,” he said.
He expressed gratitude to the police and others who joined the search and also commended parents and teachers who ensured it did not interrupt normal proceedings at school.
Meanwhile, Marcus Garvey High School Principal Anniona Jones remains hopeful that Williams will return home safely to her family. She described Williams as an “intentional, supportive and passionate mathematics teacher”.
Saying she was impressed by the unity of the teaching fraternity, Jones also expressed gratitude to all who came out yesterday.
“My faith does not allow me to be overly anxious but I'm holding on to hope and the promise that she is going to be found safe,” she said. “Schools across the region were represented here today and… it is making it the forefront of people's minds and that's what's gonna allow her to be found,” Jones said.
On Monday, the police told the Jamaica Observer they were optimistic that Williams will return home and that they are committed to locating her.
“We heard that she was seen in Brown's Town on Friday of last week and we believe that she is okay where she is,” said head of the St Ann police, Senior Superintendent Dwight Powell, who urged Williams to get in touch with the police or family members.
Meanwhile, a missing student from the same school at which Williams teaches has made contact with family members. Fourteen-year-old Amanda “Kibby” Prince went missing a day after Williams; however, police said the cases were not related.
The teen, who reportedly lives with her grandmother in Farmer's Heights, left home last Thursday to visit her mother in Windsor Heights. Both communities are in St Ann's Bay. According to Observer sources Prince has since contacted her grandmother but has been unable to provide her exact location as she has never been to the place before.