D’Urban Street resident Wayne Harris is hoping that a human skull found at Wismar will bring closure to the mystery surrounding this father’s disappearance ten years ago.
Michael Harris, a 58-year-old contractor, vanished on Christmas Day in 2008, after leaving his home at Lot 607 Hippani Oval, Retrieve, Linden, and travelling to Wismar.
There are rumours that he was murdered.
Last week, police retrieved a human skull near the Wismar foreshore, in close proximity to the Wismar/Mackenzie Bridge.
A police official said that the skull, which was examined by a pathologist, indicated that the victim was of African ancestry who was “over 25 years old. It was also estimated that the victim died at least five or ten years ago. There were no injuries to the skull.
Police have been checking their records of individuals who disappeared during that period.
Harris has indicated that he will contact police in ‘F’ Division. He is also likely to travel to Wismar.
An investigation to ascertain a possible link will have to include DNA testing. Results are sent overseas and confirmation usually takes months.
“Of course, I hope that there is closure,” he said.
His father, Michael Harris, had lived in the bottom flat of a two-storey house located at Lot 607 Hippani Oval, Retrieve, Linden.
He was also the caretaker of the premises, which belonged to an overseas-based Guyanese. A female acquaintance of the owner lived in the top flat.
The story that relatives have been told is that sometime on December 25, 2008, Mr. Harris climbed onto his bicycle and travelled to Wismar, where he had a ‘Christmas drink’ with a friend. Word is that the contractor was once a hard drinker. But earlier in the year, an intoxicated Harris had tumbled off his bicycle and almost drowned in the Demerara River.
That had caused him to drastically reduce his alcohol consumption. So, when he met up with his friend at Wismar, Michael Harris reportedly only drank a Malta.
According to reports, the contractor then rode to Poker Street, Wismar, where he had a drink with another friend. This time, it is alleged that he took a small amount of alcohol.
Mr. Harris reportedly then visited a third friend at Christianburg/Wismar. The second friend would later tell relatives that Harris had passed his way again, and that he had observed that Harris’ clothes were soiled with mud. The friend concluded that Harris had fallen somewhere during his journey.
Later in the day, one of Harris’s sisters called his home to wish her brother a “Merry Christmas”. When the landline rang out, she tried to reach him on his mobile phone, but no one answered.
About two days later, the relative again tried to contact Harris on the landline at his home. It is alleged that this time, the woman who lived in the upper flat informed the caller that Mr. Harris had gone out on Christmas Day but had not returned. The concerned relative contacted Wayne Harris, one of the missing man’s sons.
Wayne Harris contacted another brother and they travelled to the home at Linden where their father resided.
Wayne Harris said that when they entered their father’s apartment, they found everything intact. There was pepperpot and black cake on the table.
According to Wayne Harris, they visited the woman who lived in the upper flat. She reportedly revealed that she was in possession of the missing man’s mobile phone.
Wayne Harris’ story is that the woman said that after his father failed to return home, she went into his flat and retrieved his phone. Worried relatives then widened the search by checking at the hospitals and even in the cemetery for any sign of their missing father. They found none. They placed advertisements on the radio and television. Callers responded by giving the family several leads about the contractor’s whereabouts. All proved to be false.
Wayne Harris said that about a month later, a man confided to them that he was scouring the abandoned mines for ‘metal’ to sell when he came across a bag, which appeared to contain human bones.
According to the son, this information was conveyed to ranks at the Mackenzie Police Station and they confirmed that the man had given them a similar report. But he alleged that the policemen claimed that they had checked the area, but failed to find the bag of ‘bones.’
Harris said that he and other relatives checked the vast abandoned bauxite mines. They, too, found nothing. To date, not a trace of the contractor or his bicycle has been found.
Wayne Harris was less than complimentary when he spoke about the efforts police made to locate his father. He alleged that the police ignored information that family members provided about two possible suspects. He’s convinced that someone murdered his father, who disappeared on Christmas Day just as if the earth had opened up and swallowed him.
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