Alive or dead? A half-century old family mystery
By Michael Jordan
It has been almost three years to the day, in June 2009, that she contacted me; this woman that I’d never seen before, to help her solve a case that happened before I was born.
The details she gave me were sketchy, but she believed, even after all this time, that I might be able to clear her grandfather’s name of an abominable crime for which she says he was wrongly accused.
Old Evan Scott died with some still swearing that he had murdered his own flesh and blood, or sold his kith and kin to demons. It is a case that has divided family members to this day. Some have given me two, or even three sides to this strange story.
So what are the facts?
Back in 1958, Evan Scott had a daughter, Daphne Scott-Davis, known as ‘Baby’ Scott, who lived at Beterverwagting, East Coast Demerara, with her two sons, three-year-old Sydney, and Lennox, who was just a baby.
One Friday in that same year, Evan Scott invited his daughter to spend a week at his home at Supply, East Bank Demerara. According to a relative, Daphne Scott had intended to just take baby Lennox along, but, allegedly at her father’s urging, took Sydney on the trip.
Back then, Supply was a desolate, bushy, and sparsely populated community. Evan Scott’s house was located near the Demerara River.
It is alleged that on that fateful day, Mr. Scott left for work in Georgetown. About three of Mr. Scott’s small children, his wife from a second marriage, and Daphne and her two little boys remained at his home.
While he was away, Mr. Scott’s wife asked Daphne to wash her hair. While they were thus occupied, four of Mr. Scott’s children, and his two grandchildren, played outside.
The story is that as dusk approached, the children ceased their games and went inside.
But the adults immediately realized that one of the children was missing.
Three-year-old Sydney Garnett was not among them.
After the other children were unable to account for Sydney’s whereabouts, the two women immediately went outside to search for him. He was nowhere to be found.
The women raised an alarm and other residents joined in the search. Some searched nearby trenches, while others checked by the riverside without finding a trace of the child.
A female relative of Daphne Scott says that the following day, Mr. Scott came by her home in Betweverwagting, and announced that Sydney was missing. According to the woman, Scott was accompanied by a man who appeared to be a foreigner.
The police were informed about the disappearance and they, along with relatives, resumed the search, scouring the Supply backlands and even diving in the Demerara River for signs of the missing child’s remains. Mr. Scott’s home was also reportedly searched. And still, there was no trace of little Sydney Garnett.
Eventually, after a few more days, the search for three-year-old Sydney was called off.
Some speculated that little Sydney had wandered off and drowned in the Demerara River. Others suggested that some wild animal from the jungle-like vegetation in the community had attacked and killed him.
But there were other suggestions of a more sinister nature.
For some reason, a few family members were convinced that Evan Scott had something to do with his grandson’s disappearance, even though he was reportedly at work when the child vanished.
Some of those who blamed him claimed he had ‘sold’ his grandson as a sacrifice to persons who practiced witchcraft.
But there is another rumour, which persists to this day.
Some relatives say they believe that Mr. Scott either sold, or gave his grandson to a childless couple from England. One of the relatives says she still recalls how Mr. Scott had insisted that his mother bring Sydney to see him.
And this relative claims that Evan Scott came close to revealing the truth of Sydney’s fate several years later, just before he died. She said that while he was on his deathbed, Mr. Scott was visited by his first wife and a few other female relatives.
According to the woman, the dying man declared: “Sydney is not dead, Sydney is in England.”
However, she claims that when the relatives pressed him to reveal the boy’s actual whereabouts, Scott fell silent. He died a few days later.
But those who believe Evan Scott is innocent say that he was heartbroken at the loss of his grandson. One female relative said that the man had wept as he dived into canals to search for his missing grandson.
Others said that the child’s disappearance took a toll on his health.
These relatives, too, believe that Sydney Garnett was spirited away to England—but by persons other than Mr. Scott.
According to the granddaughter who contacted me, Sydney was given an opportunity to travel to England, reportedly unaccompanied by his parents, but other family members had objected to this arrangement.
But persons who wanted him to go came up with the scheme to have him spirited out of Guyana during the trip to his grandfather.
Those who accuse Mr. Scott and those who don’t, all claim to have heard reports that Sydney Garnett returned some years ago to Guyana in an unsuccessful attempt to find his mother, Daphne Scott-Davis, who went to America.
“Sadly, my grandfather died before the truth came out,” the granddaughter had said in an email to me three years ago.
“But God’s good. About two years ago, a family member started talking about Sydney and they were informed that Sydney was alive and well. He trades goods between England, Guyana and the U.S. All this time Sydney was alive. Can you believe it? Oh the things people do to travel overseas…just to get a break.”
If you have any further information about the possible whereabouts of Sydney Garnett contact Kaieteur News at our Saffon Street office.
You can reach us on telephone numbers 22-58465, or 22-58491.
You can also contact Michael Jordan through his email address firstname.lastname@example.org.