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Nov 12, 1998

A missing girl returns home

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Ever so often we hear reports of missing teenagers. More often than not they turn up safe and sound, perhaps having left home for a few days because of an argument with their parents, or because they have been urged by a group of friends to join them for a few days of unsupervised fun. But lately, in the wake of two murders of young women, and the disappearance of another child on her way to school, people are a little more concerned when kids disappear, and so are the police. An incident this week highlights just how different our society has become.

Less than twenty-four hours after twelve year old Shanima Garbutt was reported missing, today her mother Ann Marie Castillo told News Five that late Wednesday evening, she received a phone call from her aunt, saying that Shanima had called to say that she is okay.

Ann Marie Castillo, Mother

“She said that Shanima call and said that she is okay and not to worry.”

Q: “Why did Shanima run away from home?”

Ann Marie Castillo

“I don’t have any idea.”

But according to Inspector Simeon Alvarez, Head of C.I.B., Garbutt, who returned to her home on Faber’s Road early this afternoon, told them that she ran away because of a dispute with her father.

A.I.P. Simeon Alvarez, Head of C.I.B.

“In a short interview with her, she is saying that she ran away from home cause of an information that her father, a remark that her father had said to her just before Hurricane Mitch threatened Belize. As a result of that she, that she is saying that the father did not want her back at home, so she decided to run away from home.”

However, sources tell News Five that this may not have been the real reason Garbutt left home. Our sources allege that she actually fled because she was to testify this Friday against a taxi driver, who is reported to have been harassing her and is presently detained by police.

A.I.P. Simeon Alvarez

“Presently at this time, we cannot really determine if in fact he is responsible for having this child away from home since Tuesday, so we are still trying to find out that part of it.”

Alvarez says because recently there have been a number of reports about missing children and where in one case one child turned up dead, today the department is taking each report seriously and is committed in bringing to justice those culprits who are taking advantage of school children and runaways.

According to C.I.B. they do not have any new leads in the case of another missing child, Jay Blades, but they did receive a report that she was seen on Central American Boulevard just before the evacuation for Hurricane Mitch so they strongly believe she is still alive.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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