By Michael Jordan
Anita Persaud stepped out of her parents’ home at Good Faith, Mahaicony, at around 18:15 hrs on Sunday, August 19, 2001. The pretty 18-year-old was dressed in a pair of white pants and a green blouse.
At the time, only her father, Ramesh Persaud, and a friend were at home, but the men were reportedly fixing an outboard engine in the backyard. Mr. Persaud, a fisherman, would later say that he assumed that Anita was going to meet her mother at a wedding house, two properties away from his.
But when his wife came home later that night, she told her husband that Anita had asked to go to the cinema, located a corner away from her home. Thinking that Anita was indeed at the cinema and knowing that she had her own keys to the house, the family retired to bed.
When the parents awoke the following morning, they observed that Anita’s bedroom door was shut. They assumed that she was still sleeping, so no one bothered to check on her. But when 09:00 hrs came and Anita failed to surface, her mother decided to check in the bedroom. She was surprised to find it empty.
The wedding had continued into the next day, and the parents decided to ask some of the guests whether their daughter had passed by. But none of them had seen Anita. However, the Persauds’ eldest son told his mother that one of his friends had reportedly seen his sister walking on the Mahaicony Public Road with a boy the night before. Mrs. Persaud eventually made a report at the Mahaicony Police Station.
The police enquired whether the teen had a boyfriend. Mrs. Persaud explained that Anita was planning to get married in 2002. She believed that the police suspected that the teen might have run off with her fiancé. But that theory did not appear to be plausible, since the fiancé was living overseas.
Mrs. Persaud was returning home from the police station when she observed a familiar object on the road. It was a shoe. In fact, the shoe looked like one that Anita wore.
Mrs. Persaud picked up the shoe and took it home. She was talking with her husband about Anita’s possible whereabouts when she remembered the shoe. She then returned to the police station with it. But yet, the police and everyone else still seemed to believe that the missing girl had run away with a lover.
Anita’s mother then travelled to her sister’s home at Corentyne, Berbice, in the hope that Anita might have gone there. To her disappointment, the sister had no information about Anita.
On Tuesday, August 21, 2001, Mrs. Persaud sent her eldest son to question the friend who claimed to have seen Anita walking with a boy. But shortly after, Mrs. Persaud’s son came running towards her. Breathless, the son pointed to the canal in front of the family’s home.
“Body…floating…” he eventually gasped.
The family members immediately rushed to the canal. Lying face down in the water with a rope around her neck, and clad only in her white pants, was Anita Persaud.
During an autopsy, a pathologist reportedly found traces of mud in the victim’s lungs. This suggested that Anita was still alive when she was dumped in the canal.
Shortly after the post mortem, police detained four suspects. Among them were two brothers who were convicted twice for rape, only to be freed on appeal. But the suspects were all released after they were reportedly able to account for their whereabouts on the night that Anita was slain.
The police also detained Anita’s parents and the friend who was reportedly repairing the boat engine with Mr. Persaud when his daughter left home. While Mrs. Persaud was released the following day, her husband and his friend were kept in custody for three days before being released.
To the family’s frustration, no one else has ever been arrested.
But what do the parents believe happened on that fateful night?
Their theory is that a gang abducted Anita, took her out of the area, then brought her back and dumped her, still alive, in the canal near her home. But what is left unanswered is why would this ‘gang’ have taken the risk of transporting their victim back to the scene from where she was abducted?
As for the young man who had claimed to have seen Anita walking with a boy on the night she was killed, he reportedly later told the family that he had made the story up as a joke.
At Mrs. Persaud’s request, Anita was buried near a tree in the family’s backyard.
“She hadn’t a chance to live a full life, because some selfish person or persons took her away from us,” Mr. Persaud told Kaieteur News, some years ago.
“The thought that these persons have not been brought to justice rips at our hearts each day. That is what we have been feeling and may have to live with for the rest of our lives. But I know that there is a God, and whoever killed our daughter will come to justice some day.”
If you have any information about this or any other unusual case, please contact Kaieteur News at our Lot 24 Saffon Street, Charlestown office. Our numbers are 592-225-8458, 592-225-8465, 592-225-8482 and 592-225-8491. You need not disclose your identity. You can also contact Michael Jordan at his email address: [email protected]
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