After days of searching and hoping for good news that one of their own would be found, alive, a St Michael family had these aspirations dashed as lawmen, around 7:15 this morning, discovered the body of Onicka Malicia Gulliver.
The Guyanese national’s partially decomposed remains were found by police, hidden in a bushy area, in a field near the now abandoned Vaucluse racetrack in St Thomas.
“We have the family of the missing woman [Onicka Gulliver] here at this point in time. We have indications that it might be her. We will only know this as soon they make the positive identification. That is where we are at this point in time,” police public relations officer Inspector David Welch told the media at the scene during the early stages of the morning investigations.
Confirmation would later come on the cusp of midday, when a wail went up from one of the persons who had been sitting in a waiting, unmarked police vehicle.
On Wednesday, lawmen went on the hunt for Gulliver, combing the bushy areas of Waterford Bottom and Friendship in St Michael after a tip that she had been spotted there. The 23-year-old had been reported missing on Tuesday. Police sources told Barbados TODAY that in the night someone close to her had forcefully taken her from her 1st Avenue, Station Hill, St Michael home. Welch revealed this morning that a suspect was now in custody assisting with their investigations.
Asked if there had been any special considerations in how this matter had been handled, he noted that with all missing persons cases, the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) expended considerable resources looking for them.
“People sometimes do not realize the amount of input that we would give for a missing person. Once we have credible information, we would go all out in order to find that person, hopefully alive. We had some information [in this case] and this is what led us here. We would have gone to several areas already and that would have proven futile,” Welch stated.
Meantime the police inspector sought to dismiss what he suggested was a myth that in cases where persons were missing, 24 hours had to elapse before the matter could be reported to lawmen.
“Persons are encouraged that if they do have someone that is missing, you don’t have to wait for any 24 hours. That is not within our jurisdiction; I don’t know where that came from. A missing person is someone who is not at their usual place of abode or where they are supposed to be at a particular time, and their searches or the enquiry that loved one would have made would have not gained anything. They are encouraged to come to the police and report the matter. Call! Call around to look at the places that that person would usually frequent. They can still call the police so that we can initiate an action as early as possible,” Welch said.