(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) The investigation into the alleged kidnapping of Gasparillo resident Jonathon Ramcharan took a strange twist earlier today when video surveillance showed him entering taxi en route to Port-of-Spain.
Police initially received a report that he was bundled into a white Nissan Navara at the Carlton Centre carpark in San Fernando, but investigators saw nothing on closed-circuit television (CCTV) to substantiate that information.
Instead, the footage showed that a person resembling Ramcharan as he parked his vehicle at the car park, walked to the Port-of-Spain taxi stand on High Street and boarded a taxi.
Investigators are expected to interview the taxi driver about his interaction with Ramcharan and where he would have dropped him.
The management of Carlton Centre also issued a statement on its Facebook page denying that Ramcharan was taken from their compound. The company stated that he parked on their compound but left in a safe and normal manner.
It stated, “The management of Carlton Centre will like to take this opportunity to clarify a number of false reports circulating on social media regarding a missing individual, Mr Jonathan Ramcharan. Based on our findings, Mr Ramcharan did, in fact, visit Carlton Centre on the morning of Wednesday, October 17, 2018. Our CCTV System records confirmed that he parked on our compound and then proceeded to High Street in a safe and normal manner. This CCTV footage has already been shared with the Police Service who are now furthering their investigations in the High Street area.”
Police were told that Ramcharan left his home yesterday morning to go to the bank. Earlier reports stated that around 10.15 am Ramcharan arrived at the carpark in a Toyota Fielder wagon. Police said about an hour later, his mother was alerted that he had been kidnapped via two text messages from his phone.
The mother received the first text message around 11.15 am and it appeared to be from her son telling her that he had been kidnapped. The second text was a ransom demand for an undisclosed sum. Ramcharan is unemployed and lives with his wife, four-month-old baby and his parents at Bonne Aventure Road, Gasparillo. When Guardian Media visited his home yesterday his mother declined to comment.
“I am not giving a statement right now,” said the mother. The police, as well as relatives, were at their home. Meanwhile, residents in the area were shocked by the incident. Describing the family as quiet and nice people, they questioned whether his kidnapping was as a result of mistaken identity.
“It really scary now. This crime situation is out of control,” a resident said.
In its release, Carlton Centre urged the public to refrain from circulating false and misleading information.
“Carlton Centre is a premium shopping destination in the heart of San Fernando and we ensure a safe and secure shopping environment for all our customers within our compound. We have full confidence that the Police Service will be successful in their ongoing investigations.”
Up to late yesterday, the police were still trying to piece together what happened to Ramcharan and the motive behind his disappearance.
Officers of the San Fernando CID and Anti Kidnapping Unit are investigating.