IT was a bitter-sweet day at the home of missing teenager Shindlar Cuffy as family members celebrated her 18th birthday without her on Monday.
Cuffy’s mother Shondel Shallow, her sister Shantal Shallow, and grandmother Ingrid Shallow all blew out candles on a birthday cake and sang happy birthday at the family's Rose Hill, Claxton Bay home.
They all wore masks as they distributed party bags to 18 children in their community.
On November 26, 2018, Cuffy, a student of the Marabella North Secondary School, disappeared without a trace after boarding a taxi to be taken to her school. Staff confirmed she never arrived at school that day.
Shondel said, Monday signalled another year celebrating Shindlar's birthday without her.
"As the years pass, the pain gets worse. It does not get better," an emotional Shondel said.
She said she would usually buy a birthday cake for her children.
“We sang happy birthday to her and blew out the candles which she was supposed to blow. I closed my eyes and made a wish that she would come walking through our door. But when I opened my eyes she was still not there.”
Shondel said not a day passes by when she does not think about and pray for her daughter. She said many people have given up hope, but she will not.
“We don’t have much money, so I have been saving a while now to buy this cake for her. I wanted to make the day special even though she is not here.”
Shondel said the cake was marble, which is her daughter’s favourite.
In 2019 an e-mail was sent to Newsday by someone purporting to be a pastor named Clare Du Bois. In the e-mail, “Du Bois” advised Cuffy’s mother to “legally emancipate her daughter." The woman also posted a video saying Shondel will never see her daughter again.
Police said no one knows the whereabouts of this woman or where the video originated.
The Anti-Kidnapping Unit had intervened and questioned several people but, to date, no one has seen Shindlar.