WHEN 17-year-old Sunshine Alfred went missing on Monday night, her frantic family went to three police stations, begging officers to mount a search.
They heard nothing from the police until Alfred’s decomposing body was discovered on Wednesday afternoon.
Alfred’s brother, Elijah Alfred, said had police officers from any of the police stations acted immediately on the information regarding Alfred’s whereabouts, she might have been found alive.
Alfred, of Marac Village, Moruga, was found dead at Cedar Hill, Princes Town, three days after she went missing. An autopsy found she died of stab wounds to the neck and had been beaten unconscious.
Her family was told by a man who answered her cellphone that she and a man entered his taxi on Monday night.
The “taxi-driver” claimed the male passenger beat her and threw her body out in Princes Town. He also claimed the male passenger threatened to kill him if he reported the incident to the police.
Elijah Alfred said after urging police at the San Fernando, Mon Repos and another police station to search for the teenager, their response was to write down the information and say they would contact them.
“None of those officers called us, but we kept going back to the station. They were tormenting us. They did not take us seriously,” said the brother.
“If they were more professional in doing their job, we might have had a 99 per cent chance of getting back Sunshine alive. We would not have gotten the body that decomposed and going through this heartache.”
Shortly after 1 a.m. on Tuesday, Elijah Alfred and his mother, Lianette Alfred, were told the teenager was missing and seemingly in danger.
They spent the next five hours visiting the police stations, trying to trigger a search for her. Instead, they were told the teenager had run away from them, probably with a boyfriend.
“Police told us that the missing person was not from the San Fernando police district and we need to make the report at Mon Repos Police Station.
“We called her cellphone and the ‘taxi-driver’ answered. We asked him to come to the San Fernando Police Station, and we gave the phone to a female police officer to talk to the guy on the phone. She talked and talked, and after she came off the phone, she said she could not do anything for us.
“An officer said Sunshine probably ran away with a man. We felt very hurt about that especially since she is dead now.
“These are the people that are fighting crime for Trinidad and Tobago?” he asked.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Acting Senior Superintendent of Police of the Southern Division Cecil Santana said the appropriate units were informed of the missing persons report.
Santana said, “The anti-kidnapping and the homicide units were informed, and a missing persons broadcast was sent throughout the country.
“If the family is saying the police failed to take the appropriate action, then disciplinary action can be taken against those police officers, as long as they can be identified.”
Police were yesterday questioning a man who was said to be a close friend of the deceased in connection with the incident.
Alfred is expected to be cremated today, following a service at Belgrove’s Funeral Home in San Fernando, around 2 p.m.
(• See Pages 4 and 5)