Cops search for missing teen mom and her baby
Preliminary investigations into the disappearance of 15-year-old Latonia Barrett and her 10-month-old daughter, Angelique Brissett, indicate that the teen ran off with the child on May 16 and there is nothing to suspect that they are being harmed.
Senior Superintendent Marlon Nesbeth, head of the St Andrew Central Police Division, said Barrett was a resident at a home for teenage mothers.
"On that day she just packed up her things and left. There was nobody there to stop her. We are trying to ascertain what systems they have in place around those situations but as I said she just left," he said. "We are doing some checks now at some previous places and with some persons who she would have had contact with prior to now to see if they know where she is. At this time we have no reason to suspect that she is harmed or anything because from indication, she left by her own volition."
But Betty Ann Blaine, founder of Hear the Children's Cry, said Jamaican children have become an endangered species because of the cavalier circumstances that often surround their abuse.
"I say that because when you look at what's happing to our children, many of the cases of rape and incest are not even reported. Some children go missing and it's not reported. Children who are habitual runaways, they don't bother to go to the police station and report them. So you have children who are on their own kotching here and there," she said.
She also chided people who harbour missing children.
"It's a law enforcement issue, it's a police issue, you can't harbour that child. You don't know what the circumstances are," she said. "I am very very concerned about this mother and the child. It's an unusual case you know, because we know of children going missing every single day in this country from every parish. But it's unusual to see mother going missing and her baby. I am hoping that they will both be found and that no harm has come to them."
Nesbeth said that an investigation is being conducted to ascertain whether the father of Barrett's baby was "looked at for sexual offences".