Despite a massive effort by the police and volunteer groups, the search for 12-year-old Kernisha Etiene has proven futile three days after she was abducted from her home in Warner, Dominica.
Dominicans from all walks of life and from every corner of the country converged on the village, which is being dubbed ‘Ground Zero,’ to assist law enforcement in the hope of finding her.
But it appeared as if both she and her abductor, Kian Alexander, have disappeared into thin air.
The young child was taken from her home on Tuesday night at around 11:30 after Alexander, who is said is of unsound mind, attacked and injured her step father.
He then made good his escape, taking her along with him in the thick bushes which surround the village.
The lack of progress in finding young Kernisha did not dampen the spirit of those who are determined to find her, in what has become a national effort.
Many say they will continue searching, no matter how long it takes.
Hopes were raised on Thursday when the police announced that items including a belt, one side of a pair of slippers, one nightgown, and a teddy bear believed to be that of Kernisha were recovered in the Warner area.
The police vowed that everything will be done to locate the young child and capture her abductor.
“This is indeed a very tragic event and the Commonwealth of Dominica Police Force in collaboration with various government agencies, the private sector and the general public will do all that it can to rescue Kernisha Etienne and capture Kian Alexander,” Police Chief Daniel Carbon said on Thursday.
Minister for National Security, Rayburn Blackmoore said people have come together in large numbers from all over the island to assist in the search.
“We have a lot of people who have been involved in that effort,” he said on Thursday. “We have been joined by the customs, forestry officers, the scouts… and Dominicans, not only from the communities of Mahaut and Warner, from Roseau and other parts of the country.”
Hopes of finding the young girl were further raised when Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit announced on Thursday that the French government was going to assist in the search by sending a canine unit to Dominica.
But on Friday morning after a brief search, it was announced that because of the wind, rain and the fact that it has been already three days since the little girl was kidnapped, the dog could not pick up a solid scent that would lead them to her or her abductor.
The canine team later left the island and returned to Martinique.
Despite intermittent rains on Friday volunteers poured into Warner to assist in the ongoing search operation.
But as night fell, many left disappointed but determined that they will return on Saturday to continue their quest of locating Etiene and taking her home to her family.