After a dramatic week of searching, sleepless nights, frustration and tears, the baby boy who was abducted at the Port Mourant market two Saturdays ago, was yesterday found by the police and reunited with his family. Two persons have been arrested.
The baby, now 17 days old, was recovered after lawmen and investigators descended on a house at Chesney Front, Corentyne where the alleged abductor was confronted. Investigators made the discovery at around 9am. Police, in a statement, said that a man and a woman have been arrested and are in custody assisting with the investigations. As the news spread in Berbice, hundreds of villagers rushed to the Whim Police Station to get a glimpse of the infant and his alleged abductor. The police were applauded by the villagers and the business community for their role in the recovering of the child.
The baby’s mother Sandra McLean, 22, called ‘Pinky’ of No. 60 Village, Corentyne wept tears of joy. The father Ravikan Bistonauth, a labourer, said that it was his happiest moment. The baby has been named Yuvesh ‘Avi’ Bistonauth.
After Yuvesh was retrieved, his parent were contacted and told to go to the Whim Police Station to identify the child. The mother was able to identify her son including by a birthmark on his knees. She was also able to identify the alleged abductor.
After Mclean had identified the baby, he was handed over to them with the moment marked by tears of joy and sighs of relief for the family along with all others who stood by them through the ordeal. The infant was subsequently taken to the Port Mourant Hospital for a medical check-up which determined that he was healthy.
Stabroek News was told that the kidnapper is from La Grange, West Bank Demerara and works in the interior. Additional investigations revealed that the woman faked her pregnancy. As she was being taken to the police station, investigators made a detour and took her to the hospital where she was examined. The results proved that the woman did not gave birth, sources said.
While details of the events are still sketchy, the woman told investigators that she carried out the act because her common-law husband wants a son and she was afraid he would leave her if she did not give birth to the son. She also claimed that she gave Mclean $800,000, an allegation which was denied by Mclean.
It was confirmed that the abductor is not Muslim and used the hijab (a Muslim head dress) to disguise herself. She appeared to be in her mid-forties.
Stabroek News was told that police acting on information received, descended on the Lot 56 Chesney Front home where they found the baby and his alleged kidnapper. The owner of the house and mother of the man in custody, who asked for her name not to be mentioned, said that she never knew that it was the missing child who was in her house. “We didn’t know this was the missing child. Everyday me talk about this child because we ah see it on news and how the mother cry. …and me a say that person should become cripple for stealing the baby and how me wish for the baby to find,” the elderly woman said.
She recalled that yesterday morning, a jeepload of police drove past her house, then reversed and stopped. “One police called for a minute but my son went. I don’t what happen but all I see the police inside the yard. They arrest the woman and my son and took them to the station for questioning,” she recounted.
When asked about the alleged kidnapper’s reaction when she saw the police, the elderly woman said that she had been sitting in the hammock with the baby and was about to bathe him. “She didn’t look scared at all,” she said.
The elderly woman said that last week Sunday was the first time that she saw the alleged kidnapper. She recounted that her son works in the interior and met the woman there and they were in a common-law relationship for the past two years. She said that during the relationship, the woman became pregnant but lost the child.
Subsequently she reportedly got pregnant again and left the interior and returned to the coast. The woman told her in-laws that when she went into labour, she went to a private city hospital and gave birth. She reportedly stated that the baby was born on May 23rd. According to the mother-in-law, the woman also claimed that she spent $190,000 at the hospital and because of the cost, she took her own discharge and return to her La Grange home. From there, she contacted her reputed husband’s family and informed them that she gave birth.
The elderly woman said that last week Sunday, they travelled to La Grange, picked the woman up and brought her along with the infant to Berbice. She said that they did not think anything was amiss. “This is the first time we saw her, so we don’t know much about her. We don’t know what she did. She called us and told us she has a baby boy and we went for her. We did not expect this (to) be the baby. This is real bad,” she said.
Stabroek News was told that the miner returned from the interior last week after he heard that he had a son. The woman said her son became extremely happy when he learnt that he was a father. The kidnapper was also reportedly making plans to return to La Grange with the child and then to the interior to resume working with her husband.
Meanwhile, the happy parents extended gratitude to the entire Guyana Police Force for their support as well as to the family of Imran Hamid, a businessman of Rose Hall Town, and to all their neighbours who stood by them. They also expressed thanks to all who prayed for the safe return of the baby and the mother apologised to the Muslim community for the stain placed on them.
McLean gave birth to baby Yuvesh on May 16 at the Skeldon Public Hospital. While she was still hospitalised, she said, a woman identifying herself as Bibi Khan of Nickerie, Suriname, visited her and the baby. She had never met the woman before.
The following Saturday, McLean said, she was making preparations for the baby’s ninth-day celebration, in accordance with her religious customs, when Khan went to her home and told her to dress the baby as they were going to go to Rose Hall Town to get some items for the celebration.
McLean recalled that they went to the town and picked up some items. Before she returned home, she said, she stopped with the woman at the Port Mourant market. Khan, she said, had expressed a desire to purchase some hassar.
The young mother explained that she went into the market to buy the hassar after Khan insisted that taking the baby into the fish section would upset him and asserted that she would keep him. She said that on returning to the meeting point, she realized that Khan and her baby were missing. McLean said she searched the entire market and surrounding areas for her baby but all her efforts were in vain.
Her family was alerted and a report was made at the Whim Police Station. Members of the public yesterday warned the mother to be more careful with the baby in the future. Charges are expected to be laid soon.