Curline Edwards-Duhaney, an aunt of the infant abducted at the Victoria Jubilee Hospital this morning, has revealed that the sudden disappearance of her healthy newborn nephew has devastated the immediate members of the family, especially since it comes almost one year since the mother suffered a tragic death of her newborn daughter at the same hospital in 2017.
Mrs. Edwards-Duhaney, speaking exclusively with Jamaica Today via telephone moments ago, said the entire family, especially the baby boy’s mother, 42-year-old Suzette Whyte has been unable to sleep since the harrowing ordeal.
“The family is really hurt – everybody is hurt. The family is hurt, we’re in pain and we just need to hear that the baby is safe,” she said.
Edwards-Duhaney added that the abduction cuts even deeper based on the fact the Whyte lost her second child, a daughter, just two years ago at the Victoria Jubilee Hospital.
“In 2017, my sister had a daughter at the same hospital, and the baby died. So she went back now to have a next child and this happens; it (the abduction) really hit the family hard,” she told Jamaica Today.
Edwards-Duhaney was also upset that some members of staff at the hospital, when the alarm was raised in the maternity ward, resorted to blaming her distraught sister, alleging that she ‘sold’ her child.
It’s particularly infuriating for Edwards-Duhaney as her sister was considered a high-risk patient, as she is hypertensive and has blood sugar problems – and staff at the hospital were initially surprised by her calm demeanour in the face of the dramatic abduction of her baby.
“Her [blood] pressure is high, [and] her blood sugar is high so she can’t be like some mothers kicking and screaming over an incident like this. So the fact that she’s not kicking and screaming, the security constantly going around her, telling her that ‘Is you sell yuh baby because yuh not kicking and screaming’,” she contended.
Edwards-Duhaney, who is in constant dialogue with Whyte, said that the incident took place around 5:00 a.m Wednesday, just hours after she had given birth to a healthy, bouncing baby boy.
Ms. Whyte awoke to heavy bleeding and took notice of a woman, peering through the window looking at her.
“My sister told me that when she got up off the bed, the bleeding was so heavy. She started to rush to the bathroom and she saw a lady that was looking through the window at the blood on the floor,” Edwards-Duhaney explained.
“She said to the lady ‘Can I get a mop?’ and the lady said, ‘You don’t worry about that, your health comes first. Go to the bathroom and I will clean it up’,” she told Jamaica Today.
Trusting the woman, and with the impression that the facility was secured, a weakened and fatigued Whyte made her way to the bathroom to freshen up, but when she returned, her baby was gone. The only reminder of her baby’s presence was the tiny hat that had been used to cover her newborn son’s head.
As a security officer herself, Edwards-Duhaney blasted the poor vigilance of the security guards on duty for not thwarting the kidnapping.
The 38-year-old Edwards-Duhaney further expressed concern for the safety of mothers and their babies at public health facilities – give that her nephew’s abduction comes less than a week after a three-week-old baby was taken in the parking lot of the Cornwall Regional Hospital.
“I am concerned and I feel the security [guards] did not do much. For the person to pass through, you have to check; and if you’re going to sleep, you should call a next security and tell them you’re tired so somebody else can man your post. The post should not be empty. That is slack!” Edwards-Duhaney noted.
“We’re still hoping and praying; I have my faith that my nephew will return safely,” she said.
In the meantime, Edwards-Duhaney is asking the Jamaican public to keep her nephew and her family in their prayers, while looking out for suspicious individuals, especially women, who show up with a newborn baby without pregnancy or explanation.
“I want persons to put themselves in my sister’s position; if it was your child, how would you feel? So please, if you hear of somebody having a baby or see someone who didn’t have a baby and you suddenly see them with a baby – report it to the police,” she pleaded.
“While you continue to pray for us, share the news, get it out there, this needs to stop, trust me,” Edwards-Duhaney said.
By Gavin Riley