Unity girl staged kidnapping – police

Police early this morning found missing Unity, Mahaica resident Loretta Persaud, who has admitted to staging her own kidnapping.

The 17-year-old, who relatives reported was abducted some time on Wednesday, was found by members of the Joint Services during a search on a house at Festival City, Georgetown, at about 2:15 am today.

Police said Persaud, called ‘Stephanie,’ was found along with two females and a man in the house and they were arrested.

It had been reported to police that Persaud had left her home at about 9:30 am on Wednesday, to attend computer classes and had not returned. Subsequently, a relative had received a text message demanding a ransom of $300,000 for her safe return.

But police said today that during the continuing investigations, Persaud “admitted to the police that she had staged the kidnapping.” As a result, the two females and the man held with her have since been released while Persaud remains in police custody.

When Stabroek News visited the girl’s home at Mahaica, East Coast Demerara on Friday, her parents and other relatives were reluctant to speak to the media, with one relative noting that the girl’s mother did not wish to have information on the teen disclosed to the media. Another relative noted, however, that the family was traumatised by the entire situation.

The relative said that the text messages relating to the ransom demanded by the kidnappers were being sent from the teen’s mobile phone. She said the child’s father, a cash crop farmer, had been in contact with the police ever since the family received the text messages and she noted too that the family remains hopeful that the girl, the eldest of three children, will return home safely.

When questioned whether the teenager, who will celebrate her 18th birthday in August, had been experiencing problems at home, the woman said that Persaud has been an assistant pastor at a nearby church. “She is not that kinda person that would run away from home,” the relative said.

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