Authorities in the Cayman Islands have charged a 59-year-old woman and her son in connection with the stealing and maltreatment of a 12-year-old Jamaican boy who was allegedly brought to the Caribbean nation under false pretenses.
According to Cayman News Service, Lurline Viola Henry Smith and her 42-year-old son, Ricardo Jackson, are accused of abusing, neglecting and enslaving the minor after enticing his family to put him in their care. The suspects appeared in court last week. They were initially apprehended in April 2019 but the charges were brought against them in May this year following investigations.
The boy, who was promised a better life, reportedly arrived in the Cayman Islands from Jamaica in January 2019. He, however, escaped from the family’s grips in March that year. And after he was later found in the ocean in the village of East End, the minor told Caymanian authorities he had run away from Smith and Jackson and he wanted to be taken back to Jamaica, Cayman Marl Road reported.
Following the boy’s disappearance, Smith initially contacted 911 to report her “son” was missing. And though the name she provided wasn’t the same name the boy gave after he was rescued, investigators were able to establish that was the boy Smith had reported missing through a photo she gave them.
The boy was reportedly malnourished at the time he was rescued and he told authorities he ran away from the family because he was beaten on several occasions. Further investigations revealed the minor’s grandmother sent him to the Cayman Islands after he was promised a comfortable life. Despite those assurances, the minor was detained in a home and forced to work as a domestic servant, Cayman Marl Road reported. He was also denied the opportunity to attend school and barely heard from his family back home in Jamaica.
Authorities also allege Smith had also brought in other children to the Cayman Islands under similar false pretenses. The rescued minor is now back in Jamaica.