As the flames of their candles shone during a vigil for Andrea Bharatt on Sunday, the family of Ria Sookdeo is hoping that recent calls for action to protect women will reignite interest in her abduction. Sookdeo’s family has been praying for almost five years that she would be found.
Since her kidnapping on September 16, 2016, her family still has no idea where she was taken or why. Sookdeo, a mother of two, was kidnapped after she dropped her children to school at Picton Presbyterian school. The vigil at Palmiste Park, San Fernando, was one of several being held in communities nationwide since Bharatt’s body was found last Thursday.
Her murder has renewed calls for the implementation of the death penalty, legalization of pepper spray, no bail for sexual crimes, and protection and respect for women.
Speaking with Guardian Media, Sookdeo’s cousin Surrendra Dhanram said every time someone goes missing or a woman’s body is found, Sookdeo’s parents’ emotional pain would intensify.
“Remember they did not get closure or anything, so it has been so bad for them. Up to last night when they came up in Palmiste they broke down there.”
Dhanram said the family feels as though the police are no longer searching for Sookdeo, especially since they no longer receive updates from the police.
“Nobody is be calling, you just feel like the case just dead. All of the cousins, everybody tries as much as possible to share something on Facebook to keep things active.”
With the national call for the protection of women, he is hoping that the police will beef up their investigations into her disappearance.
“We are hoping it will bring awareness and hopefully the police will at least try back again because the only time anything is come up is because of a tragedy and you will feel that now they might open back the case even though the police say the case not close. But, if nobody calling or anything you would think nobody is doing anything.”
The family is also hoping that anyone who might know what happened to Sookdeo or who was involved in her kidnapping will now speak out in some way.
So far, the family’s appeals only attracted heartless and unscrupulous people who tried to extort money with fake information.
“We appeal on Facebook and the only thing you get is people with fake stuff, people who want to extort money for information and that’s how it has been.” Sookdeo’s children still miss her. He said just a few days ago her daughter celebrated her 14th birthday and “all she wanted was her mom.”
He said Sookdeo was the only daughter of her parents and the family continues to cling to hope that one day she will be reunited with them.