A 16-year-old schoolgirl who was snatched while washing clothes behind her Cumuto home on Tuesday afternoon, was rescued inside a shack two miles away with a 27-year-old man who was guarding her, being detained.
The drama started at 5.15 pm, when the girl was accosted by a masked man who ordered her into a forested area behind her house. A neighbour who witnessed the abduction, alerted the girl’s mother and Cumuto police were called. Police said the child was sexually assaulted.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Surujdeen Persad and Assistant Commissioner Irwin Hackshaw, on learning of the abduction, coordinated a team of officers led by Insp Ken Lutchman and including Sgt Williams and others to begin a search for the schoolgirl using the eyewitness’ directions in the forest. A National Security helicopter was used in the search.
During the five-hour operation, police cordoned off the entire Cumuto district, monitoring all entrance and exit points as the search was underway. Hunters and villagers with extensive knowledge of the forest terrain, voluntarily joined with police in the search. At 9.30 pm, the pilot in the National Helicopter radioed to officers on the ground that he had spotted a man running into a shack built in a clearing in the forest. Several others were seen running off in different directions.
When officers came upon the shack, they surrounded it. The suspect was held as he tried to flee. Inside the shack, officers found the schoolgirl naked and hiding under a bed.
She was given some clothing and taken to hospital for treatment. Her mother was contacted and told that she was safe with the police. Another suspect, aged 20, was held hours later in Coryal.
Deputy Commissioner Persad commended both the police officers and Cumuto villagers for working together to rescue the teen. A villager who accompanied police through the forest, told Newsday he decided to help as he was the father of a teenager and was very concerned on hearing that the girl had been snatched.