Police issue new appeal for information on missing teen

(SKNIS): The police has reiterated its appeal for persons in the community to share any information they may have in the missing case of Leanna Napoleon, a 17-year-old student of the Basseterre High School (BHS).

The most recent call came from the Head of the Violent Crimes Unit (VCU), Inspector Mackie Smith, and Constable Lyndita Powell, of the Special Victims Unit (SVU), who participated in a press conference on Monday (May 22) that was organized by the Ministry of Education to increase public awareness about the missing student and appeal for assistance for her safe return.

In what he termed as an “unsettling” case, Inspector Smith said any credible information is welcome that can help to resolve the two-week-old case. “There are some confidential police officers out there who they can go to and give that information …,” he stated.

Powell said the officers of the SVU fall into that category and are particularly moved by this case given that it involves a teenage girl.

“It has taken a toll on us because we are an office who loves children,” the Constable revealed, while appealing for greater public cooperation. “Our office personnel do have to take polygraph [tests] and the office itself requires the utmost level of confidentiality.” Powell said that if persons with information are unwilling to come to the police station to share, then the members of SVU are willing to meet at a private location that is comfortable to both parties.

Information can also be reported anonymously using the toll free 1800-8477 number operated by Crime Stoppers St. Kitts and Nevis. Callers with credible information about Leanna’s whereabouts will be eligible for a $25,000 reward.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Youth and Education, Honourable Shawn Richards, agreed that the case was unsettling not just for the friends and family of the young lady but also the school, the education fraternity and the nation on a whole. He said if the matter goes unresolved it will send a dangerous message to the perpetrators who will feel confident that they act without impunity and may signal to others to follow suit. The deputy prime minister encouraged the public to partner with the police in helping to solve this case.

The press conference was chaired by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, William Hodge, and also featured remarks from BHS principal, Maurice Benjamin.

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