KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – A senior police officer here is asking Vincentians to stop posting on the Internet information about Shanika Small, 20, who is reported missing since Friday night.
Persons have been using Facebook to ask the public to help to locate the Dauphine resident, who is described as brown in complexion, about 5 feet 11 inches tall, 125 pounds, with brown eyes and relaxed shoulder-length hair.
Netizens have used the social networking website to discuss the development, offer moral support, send inspirational messages, and organise search parties.
However, misinformation has been circulated on a page dedicated to finding Small, which as of Wednesday had over 1,900 followers.
Yesterday information was circulated that Small’s body was found and some posters have exchanged harsh words even as others expressed indifference about the situation.
However, Superintendent of Police Carlos Sampson of the Calliaqua Police Station told NBC Radio on Tuesday that when the police have enough information on the missing woman they would make it public.
“What I would like to appeal to the public at this point is to desist from publishing information on the Internet,” he said.
The cop asked that persons with information about the missing woman, “come to the station, give us the information and we would work from there”.
“We have the tools and we will do out best. We appreciate any help we can get from the public but, please, we are asking for persons to desist from sending information all over the globe,” he said.
Sampson said that while there is some good in posting such information on the Internet, “there is more bad than good in it”.
Meanwhile, police on Tuesday continued to use trained dogs in their search for the woman, joining citizens who initiated a search on Monday after police approval.
Small, who lives alone, is said to have gone into her apartment around 8 p.m. Friday. According to information, she is said to have sent a “call 911” text message to a friend around 3 a.m. Saturday.
Meanwhile, Small’s father, Verrol Small, who lives in Canada, has expressed his feelings about the situation in posts on his Facebook page.
“I’m trying to follow the events and I hope it is going according to God’s plan. Thanks and take care…,” he wrote in response to one person who said she only slept had about three hours sleep the previous night because of the situation.
“I pray that she is safe and sound,” the poster said on the Facebook account that is plastered with similar messaged.
“Friends this situation is very troubling for me, my kids, my brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces and her relatives on her mother’s side,” the senior Small wrote in an earlier post.
“I have not been around Shanika for the past 17 years and I was only able to communicate with her a few times [on Facebook]. This sadness I carried in my heart, now pierced with a possible stake, never to be mended,” he further said, adding that he was asked to stay away from his daughter “or face the court”.
“Please bear with me; once the info is available I will let you know,” Small said in capital letters, in the post that ended, “Twinkle twinkle little star oh I wonder where you are…..you’re a diamond in the sky….”
Vincentian became aware of the missing woman when her friend Nyasha Holder started a Facebook “event” dubbed “MISSING: Help us Find SHANIKA SMALL Urgently”.
“This is just not like her,” Holder told I Witness News Sunday of the employee of Shepard’s Trading, who was seen by members of the public at Heritage Square in Kingstown and close to Aunt Jobe’s supermarket in Arnos Vale Friday afternoon.