What would cause two average teenaged girls and their baby brother to go missing in the middle of the night?
That’s the question on the minds of residents at #7 Chapel Land, St Philip, following the mysterious disappearance over the weekend of Rianna Daniesha Toppin, Mercedes Disire Bibby, both 13 years old, and their two-year-old brother Caleb Joshua Toppin.
The three children have since been traced, and were being questioned by members of the Royal Barbados Police Force today, along with their parents.
Though residents are relieved the children were found, they are shocked at the possibility someone might have taken them and mystified about where they could have been.
When Barbados TODAY visited the area this afternoon, residents were reluctant to speak on the matter.
However, a gentleman who identified himself as Andre Toppin, a cousin of the three siblings, said he was at a loss as to where they could have gone.
“They left to go to the supermarket around the corner. They were here one minute and the baby was here with the father. They said they were going to the supermarket and took the baby with them.
“And it seems like someone stopped [in a vehicle] that one of them knew, who comes around here or something, and they didn’t return. Some said they went up Bushy Park to the Festival of Speed over the weekend but we really don’t know,” he told Barbados TODAY.
Toppin said the two teens were not troublesome girls. In fact, he said they hardly left home, which made their disappearance “even more strange”.
“They lack for nothing; they live good with everyone. So I would really like to know what happened. I hope [police] get to the bottom of it soon and find out where they went,” he added.
He said the situation had the close-knit community in a state of bother and searching for answers.
“From the time I turn in the gap Saturday night I knew something was wrong. Everyone was out in the road talking but I never imagined I would hear the girls were missing. They don’t even go out so, so I really don’t know,” he said, shaking his head.
Toppin was however relieved they were found and back home safe and sound.
“I would still like to see them home soon. I’m glad they’re safe but I want to see them home so they could talk to me and tell me where they went and what happened to them. I feel they would talk to me,” he added.
One of the girl’s siblings Dequon Toppin, who was present at the time of the interview, said, “I’m just glad they found my sisters safe and I want them to come home.”
Another gentleman, who identified himself only as the girls’ great-uncle, said the teenagers were not troublesome and loved dressing up.
“They don’t give no trouble. They’re mannerly, but they loved putting on nice clothes, usual girl things,” the elderly man said.
Another resident, who asked not to be identified, said she only knew the girls by seeing them on their way to and from school.
“I don’t get into anything with anyone like that. I only see them going school there and coming back. They would say ‘good morning’ or ‘good evening’ and go on. I never see them giving any trouble or anything like that,” she added.
Investigations into the disappearance of the three children are continuing. However, the RBPF today thanked the public and the media for their assistance so far.