Daughter of St James missing woman rues police’s handling of case
Twesha Heron, missing since June 25, 2021

MONTEGO BAY, St James - One year after St James woman Twesha Heron’s puzzling disappearance, her eldest daughter Gabriel McLaren is expressing dissatisfaction over the police’s handling of the case.

“I would just like the police to be better understanding when doing their jobs. I guess they go through these things every day, but most times this is a new incident for us [the family] and we want to be supported…not to feel like our concerns don’t matter,” McLaren told the Jamaica Observer West.

Heron, a mother of three girls, was last seen by her family on June 25 of last year. According to McLaren, her now 41-year-old mother left their home in Lilliput in the parish to collect money at an ATM in downtown Montego Bay.

At that time, she was wearing a brown striped blouse, blue jeans and black slippers.

While it was not usual for Heron to visit downtown Montego Bay, McLaren’s final conversations with her mother sent red flags flashing through her mind, as she had called at approximately 8:12 that morning to inform her children that she will be journeying to Mandeville for a job interview.

“She called me to say she is going to Mandeville for a [job] interview but the thing is, she didn’t have any [additional] clothes with her so that was strange. She had called me once more because I sent her several messages saying that if I did not hear from her, I would have to call the police, so she called me after. That was like 9:59 am,” the 23-year-old McLaren told this newspaper last July.

The young woman said she is very displeased with the manner in which she was treated by the police when she first reported her mother missing.

“When I called them initially to report the incident, the person I spoke to over the phone was very inconsiderate and rude. I hope going forward they do not treat victims and the family of victims like that. I told her, the operator, that I thought my mother was missing and she was very dismissive and didn’t give me any time to state my concerns properly,” McLaren told the Observer West.

“I would have liked for them to have listened to me when I first called to report her missing. They should have taken me more seriously,” she bemoaned.

For Heron’s three daughters, the experience has been nothing short of traumatic, McLaren stated. The younger girls, now aged 18 and 20, no longer speak of the day Heron went missing and are trying their best to carry on with life without her. The hardest pill to swallow, McLaren said, was accepting the possibility that their loving mother is no longer alive.

MCLEAN…I would just like the police to be better understanding

“It was very hard, especially at first, but we have been adjusting since then. We all have the job to fend for ourselves, but there is still a vacuum left. She was a very part of our lives, but it’s like she was just gone one day and there is not very much you can do to fill that hole,” said the eldest daughter.

“I am honestly not sure how they feel because we do not talk about it much. But so far, without our parents, I guess they are doing okay. It is not really a topic that we want to discuss very often, so we kind of avoid it. It has been a year, we haven’t heard much from the police and I don’t really think she is alive,” McLaren told the Observer West.

“They say time heals all wounds, but I don’t think so. It was not the way in which you would expect to lose a mother…maybe through natural causes or an illness, but never through someone’s ill-will. So I don’t think we will get over it especially because we don’t have an answer as to what happened, it is not an easy task.”

Reminiscing on the times the once happy family shared, McLaren said the matriarch, whose ambition was to become a nurse, “was a very good woman”.

“She was a very smart woman, she was someone you could always talk to and she was working on bettering herself. She was in school trying to get a better job so she could provide for us and herself. She was someone you could depend on as well,” said the young woman.

“She was a very good friend and she was a decent [individual], I wouldn’t say she was a saint, but she was a very good woman, a very good mother as well.”

One of the hardest and most emotional days for Heron’s daughters since she went missing was her birthday earlier in January.

“We were all very sad that day…and if we hadn’t been together I think it would’ve been worse. My closest family, in terms of physical nearness, are my sisters so we came together and we went out just to distract ourselves. Our extended family did call to check in on us and share their sadness too. I remember that I had seen tons of posts on Facebook and WhatsApp,” she said.

“It was overall a very bad time, but I’m glad I had other people going through the same thing.”

Checks made with the police’s communications unit have revealed that Heron is still considered missing.

BY ROCHELLE CLAYTON Observer West reporter claytonr@jamaicaobserver.com

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