For nearly five months, Ian Harris has been pleading for answers regarding the disappearance of his brother, Frederick Decourcey Gilkes.
Gilkes, 59, was last seen on Monday, May 14, leaving his Lakes, St Andrew home for his usual 4 a.m. walk. Harris was made aware of his brother’s disappearance when Gilkes’ girlfriend, Kathy-Ann Vaughan, contacted him around 7:45 a.m. and reported that his brother had not returned home.
When the alarm was raised that the former Cable & Wireless employee was missing, a search party led by the police and members of the community was organized.
Harris told Barbados TODAY that he and his brothers Vernon and Gregory desperately searched the surrounding areas of Morgan Lewis, Cherry Tree Hill, St Andrew and the East Coast to no avail.
Skeptical about the circumstances surrounding his brother’s disappearance, Harris said he was not confident about the police effort to find his lost brother alive.
“We decided to go to the police . . . to tell them what we thought happened to our brother and ever since then, we have been dealing with it, trying to find answers to where our brother is. Up to now nobody has an idea.”
Disappointed and frustrated by a lack of information
on his brother’s disappearance, the family believe that Gilkes was no longer alive but wanted the mystery surrounding his apparent death to be solved, Harris revealed.
“We believe that he is dead; nobody couldn’t be alive all this time, nobody don’t keep you all this time but we would like to know what happened and where is his body,” said Harris who added that he hired a private investigator as it was rumoured that his brother never went for a walk that morning and neighbours were tight-lipped about the disappearance.
The last five months have been stressful for Harris, the sixth of eight children, as he worried constantly about whether Gilkes was alive, and kept searching for answers.
The father of one was known as a quiet and humble person throughout the community. He was also described as a loving and caring brother who helped take care of their ailing 84-year-old mother, Elsie Harris, an Alzheimer’s sufferer.
Harris’ last interaction with his brother was on Sunday, May 13. Every day Gilkes came to French Village, St Peter to check on his mother and stay for lunch with his brother. The Sunday before his disappearance was like any normal day that ended with “I would see you tomorrow” but that tomorrow never came, Harris said.
“Every day he was here, I cooked for him . . . . When I worked or I had to go out, he looked after my mom for me . . . . Now it is a struggle but I have to get somebody else now to fill in that spot,” Harris said.
“My brother he wasn’t a flashy or heavy spender. Every day of his life he came home for lunch. When my mother was good she would prepare lunch . . . [and] he would work the land in the yard,” he added.
Harris went on to reveal that during the week of his brother’s disappearance, their mother cried continuously. During one bout of lucidity, she asked, “The boy come yet?”
“’No, mummy he ain’t come’.
“I just want answers,” Harris stressed.
Harris has urged anyone with information regarding the disappearance of Frederick Decourcey Gilkes to contact him at 422-8914.