THE head of the Central Police Division has defended his officers against allegations made by the family of murdered Chaguanas mother Sharlene Somai.
Acting Senior Superintendent Kenny McIntyre said on Friday that the officers working on Somai's case did all they possibly could to find her when reported missing.
McIntyre admitted, however, that the officers could have interacted more with Somai's relatives during the investigation.
Somai's body was found on Thursday in a sugar cane field in Peterfield Village, Chaguanas.
Her brother, Anthony Somai, and a pastor, Keith Ramdath, said they were disappointed by the police response to her missing persons' report.
Anthony Somai said he believed his sister might have been found alive if police had acted immediately upon receiving the report at the Chaguanas Police Station the night she went missing.
Somai left her home which she shared with her common law husband, their son, and her family at Peterfield Village at around 7.30 p.m. Tuesday to go to a nearby parlour and never returned.
Her relatives reported her missing to the Chaguanas police that night, and also formed their own search party for her.
On Thursday police were led to the body by Crime Watch host Ian Alleyne who said he received information from an anonymous source.
Relatives told the Express that Somai was found lying face down with a black plastic bag over her head.
McIntyre said he believed that time was a crucial factor in missing persons reports.
“It's somebody's life. Every minute counts”, he said. “We regret what happened but we are trying our best in these situations. We have a team together and doing all that we possibly can. The police would have acted and done what they are supposed to do. What we should have done differently was interact with them (Somai's family) a little more. They (police) were working, but maybe a little more collaboration (with the family) could have been done”.
McIntyre sympathised with the Somai family. “I don't blame them; they are hurting they are aggrieved and we understand that. But we take this thing so seriously such that we have sargeants investigating these things”, he said.
A close male relative of Somai has been detained by police.
An autopsy is expected to be done on the body today at the Forensic Sciences Centre, St James.