Mystery grows in Berbice cousins’ disappearance with ‘strange calls’ to parents

Strange calls about their sons’ whereabouts have reached the mothers of Odel Downer and Winston Johashen, the two cousins who have been missing in the interior for more than a month now.

Merlyn Downer and Mursha Johashen, mothers of the missing 20-year-olds, are continuing their search for their sons, despite disturbing reports coupled with what they say is a poor response from the police.

Odel of Number 8 Village, West Coast Berbice, and his cousin, Winston, of Number 9 Village, had started working as miners at 14 Mile, Issano only about three months ago before their disappearances sometime in May.

Missing: Odel Downer, 20
Missing: Odel Downer, 20
Missing: Winston Johashen, 20
Missing: Winston Johashen, 20

When contacted by Stabroek News, Merlyn disclosed that she had been receiving “strange calls” from an unknown number. According to her, the caller would inform her that the boys’ were alive “but hidden away at the river front.” The calls, Merlyn said, are puzzling and worrying. She has no idea, she added, just where the “river front” is.

Both mothers also expressed dissatisfaction with the police’s investigation into the matter; they are yet to be updated by the police on any progress. “I haven’t heard anything from the police; I ain’t even receive a call,” she said. “I am not satisfied with the police investigation at all,” she emphasized.

The woman explained that she has been suffering through sleepless nights and just wants the police to take some action. “They should at least send in a rank [into the interior]. I think they need to get together with us and organise a trip in with the family to search,” Merlyn suggested.

Meanwhile, the supervisor of the missing youths’ camp is “unreachable”. The mothers had strongly suspected that the man was somehow involved in their sons’ disappearances. Though they had raised this concern with the police, they are yet to see any response to it.

The supervisor had informed that the duo had “broken camp” in the middle of the night. The explanation had immediately raised suspicions, especially when one considers the difficulties associated with leaving the interior during the night.

A former co-worker of the cousins had shared with this newspaper that the story of abandonment seemed very unlikely.

“No transportation is available in the middle of the night and it’s extremely hazardous to travel during the night,” the man said. He continued, “There are animals and lots of bush; you can’t even see your hands in front of your face. It’s totally strange; nobody would leave there in the middle of the night,” he maintained.


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