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Accused Child Abductor to Nation: I am Sorry
The 33-year-old suspect wanted in connection with the abduction of six-year-old Keyianna Noel yesterday apologised for putting her and her father Jasson through the ordeal, saying it was the hurt over not being able to see his own child that drove him to carry out the act. “I did not mean for it to go so far. I just wanted my child,” the man, a former estate constable turned chicken-depot labourer, told the T&T Guardian in a telephone interview.
He said all he wanted was to be able to see his own daughter, who he said was being deliberately kept away from him by her mother. The man said he was willing to surrender to the police eventually, but just wanted one more chance to see his child before doing so because he knew he would “be in jail for a long time.”
Noel was grabbed from her father’s Duncan Street, Port-of-Spain, home on Tuesday afternoon. After her father called the Anti-Kidnapping Squad and police followed several leads, they managed to negotiate for the man to release Keyianna. The next day she was dropped off at the home of the abductor’s sister, who called the police to arrange for the child to be given back to her parents.
The incident once again threw the nation into a panic mode, having already been traumatised by the recent abduction and killing of another six-year-old girl, Keyanna Cumberbatch. Keyianna’s safe return thus allowed citizens to breathe a little better ahead of the Christmas season.
Yesterday, the suspect who created the situation said when he met the child’s mother, Atiesha Allen, also Keyianna’s mother, she had three children and after she became pregnant with her fourth and his first, he promised never to leave her or the four children, whom he claimed he raised “as my own children.” He admitted, however, that their relationship eventually went sour. He accepted some of the blame for this break-up, pointing out he was sometimes physically abusive towards the child’s mother.
Asked about what triggered him to grab another man’s child to use as a bargaining chip, the suspect said he tried contacting Allen to ask to see his daughter, but a female relative kept hanging up the phone and even threatened to change his daughter’s last name. “All I was thinking about was my child,” he said, crying over the phone. “I went to the house in Chaguanas and break the glass, but nobody was home. Is then I called Jasson (Keyianna’s father) and then I went by him and take the child. I didn’t want it to reach so far.”
Asked why he didn’t seek the intervention of the courts, the suspect said, “I don’t believe in them thing.” He added that he was always a good father to his child and stepchildren and was now being painted as the “ungrateful one.” He said he knew of too many delinquent fathers and had vowed never to be like that, so when he was being denied access to his only child, whom he “loves to death,” he lost control.
The man apologised to all those affected, but was adamant that had he not been denied access to the daughter he called the “apple of my eye,” he would not have resorted to such a “harsh thing.” He said he wanted to prove that not every man out there was a delinquent father, by caring for his child, but was being denied that right.
The suspect said he had planned to hand over Noel the day she was taken, but when he arrived at the drop-off location he saw too many police officers and changed his mind. The next day, he said, he called his sister and gave her Noel, adding she was well taken care of while in his custody. He reiterated that he never planned to hurt Keyianna. The suspect also denied police claims about his cellphone being monitored, adding that throughout the ordeal he was keeping in touch with them.
He said would give himself up as soon as he sees his daughter and assured everyone that the threats he made about hurting the child and himself were merely out of frustration. He apologised to those affected and to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, who yesterday called on the nation to protect children.
Police were up to yesterday searching for the man, who has managed to evade capture for the past three days. Police at the Port-of-Spain and Central Divisions, however, believe he had left their jurisdiction. Contacted by telephone yesterday, Noel’s father Jasson said his daughter was spending time with her siblings at a relative’s home to help her forget the entire ordeal.
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