“We are not done looking for those responsible.”
This was the warning given by the Head of the Special Operations Response Team (SORT) Supt Roger Alexander yesterday during the Beyond the Tape TV programme on TV6.
Earlier in the day, Alexander was part of several units which went searching for kidnap victim Mattie Maraj in the eastern division.
Maraj, 54, and her husband, Narine, 62, had been kidnapped on Saturday after leaving their St Helena home.
Her husband was found on Sunday in Valencia.
Maraj was found just before midday yesterday in the same community, along Cumaca Road, and was taken to the Sangre Grande Hospital for treatment.
She was said to be in a “good condition” but had minor injuries.
A relative of the couple was at the Sangre Grande District Hospital yesterday afternoon.
He was one of four men seen sitting in a parked SUV at the side of the hospital. Asked about Maraj’s condition, he said, “We have no comment at this time. We are letting the police do their job and right now we find that they are doing a good job.”
Alexander noted yesterday that even though he was happy the two victims had been found and were safe, “it was not yet over”.
“Our investigations are continuing, and at this stage, we are continuing to piece together what happened and all who are involved.
“An example must be set for those who want to brew that kind of activity and believe there are no consequences for such actions.
“Law enforcement must step up and satisfy the concerns of the people looking on, whether close up or from a distance. Cause if we allow some of the things we are seeing to continue, the fear of crime will live within us, and even when nothing is happening, you will fear that something is, or it will,” Alexander said.
Alexander praised all the units involved in the searches since Saturday, including the Anti-Kidnapping Squad, the Northern Division Task Force, the Eastern Division Task Force and the Air Support Unit.
He made special mention of Insp Callender and Sgt Daniel and the units that they commanded.
“There was excellent work all around. While most persons were sleeping, the Police Service was moving house-to-house conducting searches for this woman,” Alexander said.
He noted the police had “more persons” in custody following yesterday’s operations but declined to say how many.
Surrender or face exposure
Alexander also called on persons involved to surrender to the police, and warned if they did not do so soon, he would come on live television soon with images of the “masterminds” behind the kidnapping.
The Express was told three more persons were detained yesterday, adding to the three individuals who were held on Sunday with items belonging to the couple.
Alexander also reminded citizens that it was an offence to house persons being sought after by police, or to knowingly hide persons who have committed crimes.
“Because if it was you or your families who were the victims, you would want us searching every area and house for them. It could be a white house, penthouse, endhouse, or outhouse, in a bid to find your loved ones,” Alexander said.
Mattie Maraj was found along Cumaca Road off the Valencia Main Road in the same area where her husband was found on Sunday.
She was able to ask for aid from residents, who notified the police.
While Maraj has yet to give official statements, police told the Express it was believed she was dropped off by her captors as the police presence in the area had increased heavily, limiting any potential for movement.
Police suspected she was released in a bid to avoid law enforcement.
However, police told the Express they will be continuing operations in the area today and possibly in the immediate future with the aim of making further arrests.
The couple reportedly left their home in St Helena at 5.30 p.m. on Saturday to go to their farm along 3B’s Drive, Piarco.
At the time they were in their silver Ford Focus.
About an hour later, relatives received a phone call in which someone demanded a ransom.
“We have your people and we are demanding two million dollars for them!” the person said.
Maraj is a retired auto mechanic, police said.
Police said they have no motive for the kidnapping.
The couple’s vehicle was subsequently recovered in Wallerfield.