Police officers from the Central Division and Anti-Kidnapping Squad were up to late last night searching for an East Indian woman and the driver of a silver-grey station wagon whom they said can assist in the alleged abduction of a nine-month-old baby identified as Sofia Rivas.
Sofia’s mother, Valentina Hernandez, who is a Venezuelan national, had her worst nightmare yesterday when her baby was taken from her by a woman who approached her under the pretence that she was “taking her (Sofia) for a walk to the supermarket to purchase a juice for her.”
However, while the woman did go to the supermarket, which is on the same property as the apartment complex in which Hernandez lives, she soon got into the vehicle with the baby and was never seen again.
The distraught mother told police that at about 7.30 am, she was at the apartment complex at Pokhor Road, Longdenville, Chagauanas, when she was approached by the woman, whom she knew as a tenant from the said building.
Police said after conversing with the mother, the woman asked her if she could carry the baby with her for a walk to the nearby 6to9 Convenience Store and Ice Cream shop, which is located in an annex of the three-storey apartment building.
However, Hernandez said she found it strange when the woman did not return with her child and she got worried. After three hours there was still no sign of her child and the woman made her way to the Longdenville Police Post where she reported her baby missing.
Police officers who responded went to the supermarket where they recovered CCTV footage which showed the baby in the woman’s arms as she walked through the various aisles of the establishment. The footage also showed the woman leaving with the baby girl and entering a Nissan AD station wagon, licensed PCU 6452, which was parked a few meters away from the supermarket. The driver, a man, then drove off with the woman and child. It is believed the man works “PH” along the Longdenville to Chaguanas route.
The officers later spoke to several tenants from the apartment complex as part of their investigation.
Speaking with the Guardian Media yesterday evening, a male relative of Hernandez said the family came from Venezuela seeking a “better life” and now their future plans had been ruined with Sofia’s abduction. He, however, said they strongly believe they will get back baby Sofia.
“This is very bad. You can’t trust nobody but we will get back the baby. We are very sad,” the male relative, who did not want to be named, said.
A worker in the convenience store, who was on duty when the woman entered with the child, said he did not find anything strange and was shocked to hear from the mother that the baby had been abducted.
“Apparently, the woman was staying at an apartment with someone for a week or just a few days. We didn’t really know her but she didn’t act strange. She did not even purchase anything. She just left after walking around a bit,” the worker, who also did not want to be named, said.
Asked if the vehicle the woman entered was known in the area, the worker replied, “No, we don’t know.”
The owner of the store and apartment building was on the compound during Guardian’s Media’s visit but refused to comment about the situation.
Police sources said preliminary investigations have revealed that the woman who took the child lives in the same apartment complex as Hernandez.
“From what we are being told, it’s that the mother knew the woman as they are from the same building and she was accustomed to talking to her (the mother) in the past few days. The mother said she didn’t expect the woman to take her baby but we have several leads and we are hopeful to find the woman and the baby safe and sound,” the police source said.
A resident from the area, who wished not to disclose his name, said he was in shock to hear what took place.
“I saw the police there as I was leaving home to go to work and I really saw it all over Facebook and I realised that it happened right here. It now click to me but it always have people in that yard so this is real shocking and sad.”
Anyone with information on the woman and baby’s whereabouts is asked to call the police at 999, 555, 800-TIPS, 482-GARY or the Chaguanas Police Station at 665-5271.