Victim’s car keys found by searchers
Dr. Ruthlyn Pomares spent Monday and Tuesday running her medical clinic in the Rankin Centre by herself.
Her lone assistant, Kerran Natalee Baker – known to her friends as ‘Kerry’ or ‘Kerry-Ann’ – hadn’t shown up by mid-day Tuesday and Ms Pomares was extremely worried.
“She’s very responsible,” Ms Pomares said. “If she’s going to be late, she will call.”
The last time anyone received a call from Ms Baker was on Saturday.
On Sunday night, a close friend of Ms Baker’s found the 25-year-old Jamaican national’s handbag and several full bags of groceries sitting on the kitchen counter of the Bodden Town home she rented. On Monday, police found the white Honda Civic Ms Baker drove in a cemetery field just north of Pedro St. James Castle.
Ms Pomares received a call from Kerry’s parents in Jamaica Monday.
“They were upset,” she said. “They just wanted to know that she was not here.”
Royal Cayman Islands Police officers and scenes of crime investigators spent Monday and Tuesday afternoon searching an area near Pedro St. James Castle in Savannah for the missing woman.
Friends of Ms Baker’s who had gathered where her car was found Monday said neither they, nor her family in Jamaica, could get through to her cell phone.
“The fact that Kerran left the house without her handbag is very unusual,” said RCIPS Superintendent Marlon Bodden. “She also uses her phone a lot, but none of her friends or family received any calls or messages from her since Saturday evening.”
Ms Baker’s close friend, Inia Ricketts, found three or four bags of groceries on the counter of her friend’s home Sunday night. A few items had been left on the floor. Ms Ricketts said Kerran would never do that.
“She would not leave paper towels on the floor, she would not leave meat or milk out like that; she was a neat freak,” Ms Ricketts said. “I think she was taken from inside her home.”
Ms Ricketts said she last heard from her friend around 5pm Saturday. Earlier in the day Ms Baker had been at work until noon and went home. She then went back into George Town around 3pm to wire money to her mother.
“We talk every day, there’s not a morning she doesn’t call me and tell me to get out of bed,” Ms Ricketts said.
The missing woman was spotted in several other places Saturday, including at a police roadblock early that morning and at Governor’s Beach in the afternoon. The last known sighting of Ms Baker was at the airport Fosters grocery store, where she was captured on a CCTV camera leaving the store around 7pm.
Ms Baker has a fiancé in Jamaica and he was expected to arrive in Cayman with the missing woman’s mother as soon as possible, Ms Ricketts said.
Ms Ricketts said it was her friend’s dream to go back to Jamaica and marry her fiancee one day.
During the Monday search of Ms Baker’s car, police found what appeared to be a suitcase in the trunk of her vehicle. There were several packages inside wrapped in plastic bags, but police gave no indication of what those might contain.
Ms Ricketts said Ms Baker always kept a bag packed in case she needed to leave on a flight back home quickly.
Scenes of crime officers spent most of the afternoon Monday processing the vehicle for evidence, including dusting for fingerprints and removing certain items from inside. After a search of the vehicle was completed, police K-9 units and the RCIPS helicopter made a full sweep of the area.
Another police search of the area was conducted Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Bodden said.
A security guard at Pedro reported to facility management on Monday that he believed the white Honda had been parked on the lawn near the cemetery since Saturday evening. Police could not immediately confirm those reports.
A wedding was being held at Pedro on Saturday evening, and facility managers said it was likely any vehicle parked near the grounds would have evaded notice at least for a while. As far as she knew, Ms Ricketts said Ms Baker had no plan to attend the wedding at Pedro and didn’t like to go over there to fish because of the rocky terrain.
“She’s careful, she’d never go out to those kinds of places by herself,” Ms Ricketts said. Superintendent Bodden said a house-to-house search was conducted on Arrow Drive where Ms Baker lived, but by press time nothing had turned up.
“As yet no trace of Kerran has been found. I would ask anyone who saw Kerran after 5pm on Saturday to contact us immediately,” Mr. Bodden said.
RCIPS Chief Superintendent John Jones put it bluntly on Tuesday: “We do not have a clue where she is.”
Ms Baker worked at Premier Medical Care for the last two-and-a-half years with Ms Pomares where she assisted the general practice medical doctor as a licensed practical nurse or LPN.
Ms Pomares said it was Ms Baker’s goal to become a full-fledged RN or registered nurse and that the 25-year-old was looking into some classes at the University College of the Cayman Islands to make that happen.
“She was very likeable for the patients and she was a wonderful worker,” Ms Pomares said. “Whatever she could do, she would do. She was very receptive to learning. She put herself together well; she put a lot of care in how she looked.”
Ms Baker also couldn’t have left the Cayman Islands, according to Ms Pomares, because she recently sent her passport off to Canada to obtain a visa.
“I went there in December and was telling her how nice it was,” Ms Pomares said. “She was planning a visit there.”
In addition to processing the scene where Ms Baker’s car was found and searching the area around Pedro St. James Castle, RCIPS officers interviewed several individuals who had close contact with Ms Baker in recent weeks.
Those people included a former male friend of the 25-year-old woman, who was questioned and released.
Police said Tuesday that no one had been taken into custody in connection with Ms Baker’s disappearance. Superintendent Bodden noted that there had previously been reports – both at Ms Baker’s residence and at her work – of a ‘domestic context’. By that, he said he meant threats and minor disturbances. There were no serious violent incidents and no evidence that Ms Baker had been stalked, Mr. Bodden said.
Friends of Ms Baker’s held two separate volunteer search parties Tuesday starting at 6pm, Ms Ricketts said.
One search party scoured the area near Pedro St. James Castle, another searched near Ms Baker’s residence in Beach Bay.
By 6.30pm, hundreds of volunteers had gathered in the Pedro Castle area sifting through the bush and using flashlights to examine the area.
Ms Ricketts said one of the volunteer searchers found what she believed to be Ms Baker’s car keys in the bush near Pedro Tuesday night. She said nothing else of significance was found.