Children in pain
By NEWSDAY REPORTER Sunday, October 21 2012
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Radha Roopnarinesingh ...
What has happened to 44-year-old Radha Roopnarinesingh? It is now 26 days since she last spoke to one of her daughters by cellphone.
Radha, who had a job at the RPM Mall on High Street, San Fernando, told her daughter, Andrea Roopnarinesingh, that she had been introduced to a man who was taking her to see an apartment in San Fernando. At the time, Radha was desperate to find a cheaper place to live with her five children, as at the apartment she had in La Plaisance Road, La Romaine, the rent of $2,000 a month was more than she could afford.
That was, however, the last time anyone ever heard from her or saw her, and despite searches by relatives, friends and police there has been absolutely no sight or sign of Radha since. The one lead the police had was the man who it is alleged was taking her to see the apartment. But after questioning the man, the police released him.
The story of her disappearance is quite a mysterious one.
According to Andrea, her mother told her she was meeting a man - a stranger — at about 6 pm, and he was to take her to see the apartment. That was initially to be on Saturday, September 22.
“I told her not to go at that late hour,” Andrea told Sunday Newsday.
“I was uneasy as she did not know the man and had only been introduced to him by a co-worker.” Radha followed her daughter’s advice and arranged to meet the man on the following Monday, September 24, the national holiday marking Republic Day.
According to Andrea, Radha left that Monday morning to meet the man in San Fernando.
“She left home around 10 am to go to meet this stranger in San Fernando.
“She had $1500 on her besides money to travel. The $1500 was the sum for the rent. She also had her ID card, bank card and food card. She was wearing a blue three quarter jeans and a pink top and a pair of white slippers with a brown wallet in her hand.”
Andrea said at about 2 pm that same day she telephoned her mother to find out what was happening about the apartment. Her mother told her she had seen the apartment in San Fernando and liked it, but that it was locked and the man was then taking her to Gasparillo to meet the owner to get the key.
According to Andrea, her mother told her she and the man took a taxi and dropped off in Gasparillo, where he told her they had to walk some distance to find the owner’s house. Half-an-hour later Andrea again called her mother, who said she was still walking to find the house. Radha told Andrea she kept asking the man how far again and he would say “just now”.
At that point the money on Andrea’s phone ran out and it was the last time she heard her mother’s voice. She said during the last conversation she had told her mother to get a phone card and call her back, but her mother said there was no shop nearby. Andrea said by the time she got a new phone card and called back her mother’s number there was no answer.
“I called her over and over, but got no answer,” a distraught Andrea recalled.
Since then no one has seen or heard from her.
The Anti-Kidnapping Unit (AKU) confirmed it has been involved in the search for Radha since her disappearance was reported. A senior officer at the AKU also revealed that the Southern Division Homicide are now involved in the search as well. The officer also confirmed that the man who took Radha to show her the apartment was interviewed and released. He said a special team has been assigned to the case and that searches are being carried out every day.
The AKU officer said a special team has been assigned to the case and they are also calling on members of the public to come forward if they have any information.
In the meantime, the family life of Radha’s five children is no more, their world turned upside down. Unable to pay the $2,000 a month rent, they are now all over the place.
Tia Tamara Lucien, at nine years of age is the baby of the family, the last of the five children. She now lives with her father, Jason Lucien, and paternal grandmother in La Romaine, a short distance from where she lived with her mother and four siblings. The older sisters, Marvilon Coutou, (22) and Andrea (19), are hoping they can get an HDC house and be reunited as a family.
Tia, a Standard Three student of the San Fernando Methodist School, is missing her mother. “Lord please bring back my mommy,” she cries all the time.
Since she left home, I only see her photo in the newspapers,” she said.
“I want my mommy to come home. Every night I say my prayers I say, ‘Lord please bring back my mommy’. And I miss my sisters and my brothers. I like to play with my big brother Sherwin, who is 17.”
Another brother, 12-year-old Anton, has gone to live with relatives in Princes Town.
Tia talks constantly of her mother.
“When mommy didn’t come home I went to school the next day because she does not like me to miss school, but I couldn’t go to my class because I was not wearing the proper uniform and I could not comb my hair for myself,” she explained.
That same day her teacher was informed that the child’s mother was missing. Tia, who hopes to one day become a doctor, continues to go to school. Lucien did not want to be photographed, but he told Sunday Newsday he was now taking care of his daughter and that she was comfortable with his family.
“She’s not alone “ he said, as Tia sat next to him on a bench at the Unipet gas station in La Romaine where he works.
“She’s in good hands, she has her uncles and aunties.”
With reference to Radha’s disappearance, Jason said although they are no longer involved in a relationship, he hoped “she was all right”.
It was obvious then that Tia and her father share a close relationship, she was hugging him as she spoke, but she was quick to add that he could not comb her hair. Tia has long hair almost to her waist and it was combed into a pony tail.
Tia and her siblings also appear to be very close. She said her two older sisters, Marvilon and Andrea, call her every day.
“They ask me if I pray for mommy and if I did my lessons,” she said.
Andrea and Marvilon continue to hold out hope for the safe return of their mother and are pleading with anyone who may be holding her against her will to release her so she can come back home to them.
On September 26, Marvilon and Andrea came to Newsday seeking help in finding their missing mom. The girls explained that their mother was not in the habit of leaving them alone and never overnighted anywhere.
“If she was running late, she would always call us,” Andrea said.
In the meantime, various agencies are trying to help the family with food cards and whatever assistance for which they qualify. But they are desperate to find out what happened to their mother. They want to know if she is safe or if she is being held by someone against her will?
Twenty six days is a long time to be missing, but they refuse to think the worse. They are appealing to neighbours, taxi drivers, anyone who may have seen their mother, to notify the police, the Anti Kidnapping Unit 679-3165; Homicide Bureau 652-0495 or Andrea Roopnarinesingh 304-1566.