THE ordeal of being a kidnap victim for five months ended early yesterday when Port of Spain teenager Darrell Cuffy was allowed to go free.
Cuffy was released close to the Caroni Bird Sanctuary by his kidnappers who removed a dark cloth, which they had kept over his head for five months, and told him to run.
The dazed and confused teenager began running, but in the dark, not knowing where he was going, he stumbled and fell injuring his knees and feet. He alerted a passerby who contacted the police, who took him home. His mother then went with him to the Port of Spain General Hospital with the police and he was treated for cuts and bruises.
Yesterday in a brief telephone interview Darrell said: “I am happy to be back home, I am relieved that this ordeal is over and I want to thank all those who supported my family and prayed for my safe return.” He said he did not wish to speak about his five months in captivity but will do so at a later date.
His parents, Farrell Cuffy and Elizabeth Payne, were stunned when police called to say their son had been freed. Farrell and his wife held each other and began praying, thanking the Almighty. They had never given up hope.
When the police car took Darrell to his Duke Street home early yesterday, the couple could not contain their joy as they saw their son, who had lost a lot of weight, walking towards them. Even neighbours surrounded the teenager, hugged him, and shouted the name of God, while others looked on and wept.
Farrell told Newsday the joy of seeing his son overwhelmed him. The businessman said his son may have to undergo counselling. He said he has no intention of moving, but will be more cautious with respect to the safety of his family, though he will not be intimidated by what was done to his son.
His voice choked with emotion, Farrell said his son told him he was kept for most of the time in the bush with a black cloth over his head.
“My son did not see light for five months, and this must have had a negative effect on him, and that’s why he was disoriented when he was released.
“He also told me that he was never beaten, and was fed. However, he did not go into details if he was allowed to bathe or given any medication.”
When Darrell was freed he was wearing a white vest and blue short pants.
“My son lost so much weight that he did not look like the child I knew before April 25, when he disappeared. I know he is shaken up, disoriented and probably angry over what he endured, but my wife and I will do our best to rehabilitate him from that harrowing experience.”
Farrell said he has no idea why his son was targeted or why the kidnappers chose to keep him for five months, and insisted that contrary to popular belief, he is not wealthy, but a hard-working person who will continue to live a simple life and not be afraid of the criminal elements. Farrell had contemplated selling one of his cargo ships to pay a ransom for his son’s release, but later changed his mind, insisting he would not pay one red cent to kidnappers.
On April 25, Darrell was snatched as he drove his father’s car at Fairways, Maraval, around 8.45 pm. Footage from surveillance cameras showed he was taken by two men in a dark SUV with blue flashing lights. The Anti-Kidnapping Unit was alerted and investigations began.