Mother’s report of missing child resulted from “miscommunication”

Mother’s report of missing child resulted from “miscommunication”

Police say child was left home alone unattended

 

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Authorities were yesterday investigating an incident involving a child being left home unattended by a relative, according to police.

The purported mother of the four-year-old boy pleaded with the public on Facebook yesterday afternoon to help her find her son, whom she said was last seen at home around noon.

Her post, which included photos, was widely circulated on social media and prompted questions about the absence of mass notifications about the missing boy in keeping with the MARCO Alert system launched last July.

“Please, if whoever has him or if anyone sees him, please bring him home,” she wrote.

“His name if Kendel Adderley.

“Please just bring by baby home safe.”

However, following media inquiries, Assistant Commissioner Stephen Dean said the child was not missing as reported, but there was a “miscommunication between relatives”.

“The child was left home alone unattended by a relative and was taken from the residence by another relative who discovered him home alone,” Dean said after 5:00 p.m.

“Police and social services personnel are investigating this matter.”

On February 16, a three-year-old boy riding his bicycle in front of his family’s home in South Beach was kidnapped by two women in a silver car.

He was dropped off at a wash house on Joe Farrington Road around 7 a.m. the following day.

Police issued a report on the abduction around 1:25 a.m. on February 17.

A police report and missing person bulletin was subsequently issued.

There were concerns in some quarters about the urgency in which police reported the matter, and the failure to issue mass messaging regarding the incident.

When authorities launched a restructured MARCO Alert system last year, it was expected to be tested over three months before mass notifications among authorities, social media groups, as well as neighbourhood watch groups, were issued in incidences where authorities concluded an alert warrants a mass broadcast for a missing child.

In order to receive those alerts, police said members of the public would need to sign up by emailing ‘marcosalert@RBPF.bs’ or by visiting www.royalbahamaspoliceforce.org.

It would also be sent via email and social media.

A dedicated mobile application was also expected to be launched that could forward alerts.

During his annual “Meet the Press”, Police Commissioner Anthony Ferguson was asked whether the MARCO Alert system was in effect.

It was pointed out that while police had issued missing persons reports, some of which included missing children, these were not preluded by urgent mass broadcasts expected on the pilot program launched in July 2018.

Once a missing child is reported missing, mass notifications among authorities, social media groups, as well as neighbourhood watch groups was expected to be issued via text and email, among other forums.

“That is being completed,” Ferguson said.

“I think we need to make sure that it is fully implemented, so you can be a part of it.

“That is something that we just need to make some minor adjustments on and then you will be involved in it.”

Pressed on whether the alert system was operational, the commissioner said, “It’s in use. It’s still being tweaked. It’s completed.

“We launched it already, and so, pretty soon you will be a part of it; just some little tweaking the technical people are doing with it.”