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Monday 24 September 2018
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WHAT ABOUT RIA?

Family begs Griffith after Pollonais rescue

GARY, HELP US: Frankie Rajkumar, father of Ria Sookdeo who was kidnapped almost two years ago, speaks at the family’s home yesterday.
GARY, HELP US: Frankie Rajkumar, father of Ria Sookdeo who was kidnapped almost two years ago, speaks at the family’s home yesterday.

AS THE second anniversary of her kidnapping approaches, Ria Sookdeo’s father is calling on Police Commissioner Gary Griffith to review her case especially in light of the rapid rescue on Monday of another kidnap victim, Natalia Pollonais, four days after she was snatched.

Frankie Rajkumar said he was extremely happy that Pollonais was back safe with her family and is hoping the diligence shown by the police to rescue Pollonais, can be used to find his daughter who was snatched back in 2016.

Rajkumar, 66, said he has learnt some “shocking details” about his daughter’s personal life that she kept hidden from her parents and siblings. Contacted for comment yesterday, Commissioner Griffith said he is willing and ready to meet with Rajkumar as he will make time for any citizen affected by crime. However, Griffith said he is not prepared to discuss cases or sensitive information in the media.

September 22 will mark two years since Ria was abducted outside her children’s primary school by men dressed in police tactical gear – a detail that is identical to Pollonais’ kidnapping. A police sketch of a suspect in Ria’s case was released and Rajkumar said this sketch bears a striking resemblance to a photo of one of the men said to be in custody for Pollonais’ kidnapping.

Although several people were detained, no one was ever arrested for Ria’s kidnapping and no ransom was ever demanded. Rajkumar said he is hoping Griffith can crack Ria’s case and his family can finally have answers about what happened to the Debe hairdresser.

“Mr Griffith seems to be taking a different approach that is getting results and I would grateful if he could look into Ria’s case and see what he can find,” Rajkumar said. “I have found out some things that can make any father’s heart hurt and I want to let the police know, after all this time we still pray for her and wish that she could come home.”

He said Ria would have celebrated her 36th birthday in March. “My wife and I bought a small cake for her 35th birthday, but it was too emotional for us. We haven’t really thought about doing anything to mark the day she was kidnapped. We will pray for her like we do every day.”

Newsday spoke to Ria’s husband Mark Sookdeo, who echoed Rajkumar’s call. Mark and Ria have two children, Elena, who is now 11, and Torres, seven. Mark said he would be grateful if his family could get some closure on Ria’s case, as his children often come to him with questions about their missing mother that he cannot answer.

“I see Gary is doing a good job as CoP, he seems to have a good head on his shoulders, and I hope he can bring this to an end,” Sookdeo said.

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