KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – A decomposing body, believed to be that of Shanika Small, 20, was found in the Dauphine-Welcome area sometime around 8 a.m. Sunday, nine days after Small went missing.
However, while police have confirmed the body as that of a female, Small’s mother has been unable to identify it as indeed being that of her daughter, according to SVGTV’s Facebook’s page.
Information reaching I Witness News, indicate that the head is detached from the body and seems to have had several teeth broken out.
Further, the body, which is said to be clad in short pants, bears what appears to be signs of blunt trauma, suggesting a beating, according to well-placed sources.
If the body is proven to be that of Shanika Small, it will bring to a close one chapter of a story that captured the attention of the Vincentian population at home and in the diaspora.
It began when news broke via a Facebook event set up last week Sunday, Oct. 23, by Small’s friend, Nyasha Holder, that the Dauphine woman was missing.
About 3:33 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 22, Small sent a text message to another friends saying “call 911”. However, the friend only saw the message when he woke up several hours later.
Small missed on Saturday a dance class that she usually attends and all attempts to reach her were futile.
“This is just not like her,” Holder told I Witness News last week Sunday night.
Several searches, conducted by citizens and police – including a trained police dog — last week, failed to find the missing woman, although one search party found shoes, said to belong to her.
As the news of the discovery of the body circulated Sunday morning, Vincentian netizens expressed their feeling on the Facebook page dedicated to finding the missing woman.
“I just can’t believe this. I never got a chance to meet you but I can tell that you were a very sincere and loving person just by the way your friends and family joined together to help bring you back,” one person wrote.
“This is a very tragic moment and a sad time. R.I.P. Shanika. Hope they found that sucker who did this,” said another post on the social networking Website.
“Apparently, you don’t have to be a millionaire’s kid to be kidnapped and killed anymore. St. Vincent needs JESUS!” yet another poster said.
“SVG is a failed state when it comes to protecting women from cannibals. …. From the head down don’t even have respect for women because they too will call women all kinds of names in the book,” said another post, written in capital letters.
This country has recently witnessed an upsurge in violent crimes again women, including two women who was shot and killed in Campden Park in September.
Also in September, a 78-year-old widow of Fitz Hughes, was found dead in her home, believe to have been raped and killed.
These killings came on the heel of the stabbing death of a Greiggs woman in August while a Georgetown woman survived an attack in which a man slashed her throat with a knife on the Grenadine island of Bequia.
Senior High Court Judge Frederick Bruce-Lyle last Monday, Oct. 24, added his voice to the public outcry regarding violence against women.
“No man has any right to lay his hands on his wife or his common-law-wife. I am sick of what is going on in this country,” Bruce-Lyle said, according to The Vincentian newspaper.
The judge was speaking after a nine-member jury found Bilton Primus, 38, of Campden Park, guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm on his former common-law wife, Darrine Edwards, of Old Montrose, who was 20 at the time of the incident.
Bruce-Lyle adjourned the matter to November 11, saying he needed time to consider what sentence to impose on the convicted man.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Holder who was leading the efforts online to find Small, told Searchlight newspaper that while she was hoping for the best, she was fearful of the worst.
According to Holder, Small was seen in the vicinity of the Roman Catholic School in Kingstown walking with a gentleman, described as tall as slim.
She was also seen at Heritage Square with a person bearing the same description and later at Aunt Jobe’s Supermarket at Arnos Vale some time before 6:00 p.m.
At about eight o’clock, Small’s landlord saw her arrive home, according to Holder.
“We found out [on Sunday, Oct. 23], that somebody … saw her trying to hustle away from a guy; and the description was tall and slim, but they couldn’t see his complexion, because it was dark. That was around minutes to eight, the person said,” Holder told Searchlight.
Holder also said that Small spoke to her mother around 8 or 9 Friday night.
“So we knew when all of this happened that it could not be a hoax or any games, because she always lets people know where she is going,” Holder said.
Holder further told Searchlight that to her knowledge, the last known interaction Small had with friends, was on Blackberry with Holder’s brother Orande, which lasted until around midnight, during which Small indicated that she was at home.
Small is said to have sent the “call 911” text message to the male Holder.
Holder told I Witness News in the interview on Sunday, Oct. 23, that she and Small’s friend did not know her to have a boyfriend.
However, Holder said that according to friends, Small told them “a particular guys is aggressively trying to get her to date him”.