Blood, car keys found during search for missing nurse

Searches being conducted by the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service and volunteer teams in the area where a missing woman’s car was found Monday turned up a set of car keys in the bush and some blood-stained rocks near the shoreline.  

However, as of press time Wednesday, there was no trace of Kerran Natalee Baker, 25. Ms Baker has not been seen or heard from since Saturday night.  

Her abandoned Honda Civic was found just outside the Pedro St. James Castle parking lot entrance on Monday afternoon and police said the car keys discovered Tuesday night were located near the vehicle.  

A friend of Ms Baker’s identified the keys as belonging to the Jamaican national who has worked in Cayman as a nurse for the last two-and-a-half years. However, RCIPS Chief Superintendent John Jones said Wednesday that hadn’t been precisely determined.  

Mr. Jones said the keys did appear to go to a Honda vehicle. 

“The fact that you find the keys in the bush, that’s bizarre,” he said, noting that it raised the possibility that someone could have thrown them there after parking the Honda.  

The blood stains found on the rocks near the shore were further away and rather small, according to Mr. Jones. He said they were being processed for any evidence value they might have. 

Mr. Jones said the stains were “not in close vicinity to the car”.  

Friends of Kerran Baker who assisted in the Tuesday night search near Pedro St. James and in Beach Bay, Bodden Town, were said to number somewhere between 200 and 300 at one stage.  

“It was really good, because when we put out [the notification about the search] we were expecting 50, 60 people,” said Inia Ricketts, a close friend of Ms Baker’s. “I was really grateful to see the turnout … they wouldn’t give up.”  

Some searchers stayed out until about 1.30am Wednesday and went to other areas including near Caribbean Utilities Company property in Industrial Park and Camana Bay.  

“We’re going to push and pray until something turns up,” Ms Ricketts said.  

Ms Ricketts said Ms Baker’s mother and her fiancé had arrived in Cayman around noon Wednesday. The Caymanian Compass could not reach any of Ms Baker’s family members by press time.  

The Compass did contact one of Ms Baker’s male friends who had been interviewed by police earlier in the week. The man declined to make any comment for publication.  

Police have said that there were reports at Ms Baker’s home and place of business that they described as domestic in nature, but nothing overly violent and nothing that would amount to stalking.  

Mr. Jones also noted that, despite reports in the Jamaican media, RCIPS was not aware of any restraining orders that had been made against anyone with regard to Ms Baker.  

“That is news to us, we have no police record,” he said. “I’d be very surprised if there was a restraint order and we didn’t know about it.”  

He said police would 
discuss the matter with 
Ms Baker’s parents.  

 

Timeline  

According to police, the first missing persons report to come in concerning Ms Baker was at 7.18pm Sunday evening.  

Much of the investigative effort since then has focused on trying to create a timeline to trace where the 25-year-old nurse was in the days and hours before her disappearance. 

On Friday night, 29 July, Ms Baker was spotted at a George Town bar. There were reports of an altercation at that bar between her and another woman, but police did not confirm details of the incident.  

“We’ve read reports that she has had previous altercation in a bar but not necessarily whether it was on that night,” Mr. Jones said. “It’s a line of enquiry we will explore.”  

At around 1.30am on Saturday, 30 July, Ms Baker was spotted by police driving through a traffic roadblock in Red Bay. Mr. Jones said the officer at the roadblock didn’t notice any signs that Ms Baker had been in a fight.  

Later in the day on Saturday police said she was seen at several locations including: Governor’s Beach at West Bay Road, Cost-U-Less, Kirk Home Centre, the Industrial Park area and the Fosters Food Fair airport store.  

“That is the last known sighting of Kerran,” RCIPS Chief Superintendent Marlon Bodden said of the Foster’s appearance.  

Ms Baker’s friends said she was at work on Saturday until about noon and had gone into town around 3pm to wire money to her mother in Jamaica.  

Attempts to contact Ms Baker by some of her friends on Sunday, 31 July, were not successful. Sometime between 6.15pm and 6.30pm Sunday, her friend Inia Ricketts went to Ms Baker’s home in Bodden Town and with the assistance of the landlord, entered her friend’s apartment.  

Upon finding unopened bags of groceries and Ms Baker’s handbag on the counter, Ms Ricketts said she became extremely worried and called police; that call came in at 7.18pm Sunday.  

Later that evening and continuing into the following morning, Monday, 1 August, police conducted house-to-house enquiries in the Beach Bay area and also spoke to Ms Baker’s friends and associates.  

It was around 12.30pm Monday that Ms Baker’s white Honda Civic was found parked on the cemetery lawn near Pedro St. James Castle. Police conducted searches of the area later that day.  

Police also confirmed that a suitcase found in the trunk of that vehicle contained bags with women’s clothes in them. The clothes belonged to Ms Baker but the case did not, Mr. Jones said.  

On Tuesday, police went out again to look through the area and volunteer searchers joined them around 6pm. 

Kerran search-tues

Police and volunteers made some significant finds Tuesday in the search for Kerran Baker. – Photo: Jewel Levy
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12 COMMENTS

  1. Mr. Jones said the keys did appear to go to a Honda vehicle

    The fact that you find the keys in the bush, that’s bizarre, he said, noting that it raised the possibility that someone could have thrown them there after parking the Honda.

    The blood stains found on the rocks near the shore were further away and rather small, according to Mr. Jones. He said they were being processed for any evidence value they might have.

    Mr. Jones said the stains were not in close vicinity to the car.

    Mr. Jones also noted that, despite reports in the Jamaican media, RCIPS was not aware of any restraining orders that had been made against anyone with regard to Ms Baker.

    That is news to us, we have no police record, he said. I’d be very surprised if there was a restraint order and we didn’t know about it.

    On Friday night, 29 July, Ms Baker was spotted at a George Town bar. There were reports of an altercation at that bar between her and another woman, but police did not confirm details of the incident.

    Police have said that there were reports at Ms Baker’s home and place of business that they described as domestic in nature, but nothing overly violent and nothing that would amount to stalking.

    Now I am nor have ever been any type of police officer
    but the entire picture that the police statements on these particular facets of this incident presents gives me cause for concern…the police seem to be finding every excuse to ignore the obvious…that they are not dealing with a ‘missing person’ case here but all evidence points to a horrendous crime involving the life of a person, having been committed.

    The longer they take to admit this and proceed accordingly, the lesser the chances of this crime being solved.

    The more cynical amongst us don’t need convincing that something terrible has happened to this girl and the RCIPS need to make it a priority to find out exactly what has been done to her, and by who.

    I’m sure the Jamaican police, who have much more experience and expertise in these matters, would be more than willing to assist in finding out what has happened to one of their own nationals.

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  2. Firery: You didn’t need to tell us you have never been a police officer…..

    The difference between the two types of investigation – a missing person and a crime investigation are stark and significant. One is focused on finding the person while the other is about finding evidence.

    Perhaps the police have already come to the conclusion you suggest but that is not something they would want to highlight publicly for no other reason that we have the missing girls family and friends praying for her safe return. It would be crass in the extreme to dismiss the possibility of her being alive without evidence. If she was a member of your family you might have a different view.

    In terms of the ongoing investigation, I am not going to second guess Chief Superintendent Jones who was the head of Criminal Investigation in the West Midlands Police service (second only in size to the Metropolitan Police) before he came to Cayman so his experience and knowledge are second to none. Certainly he has no need for any assistance from other Caribbean Islands least of all from one that has the highest murder rate in the world!

    But think on, evidence comes in many guises. In terms of the car keys or the blood sample these might give DNA and that isn’t something the RCIPS can access in hours on the Island. Most forensic work is carried out in labs in the US or UK and that, regrettably, takes time. Hardly the fault of the RCIPS though.

    Perhaps all the budding Agatha Christie’s on here would remember that CSI Miami isn’t true and proper police work is about diligent enquiries, usually out of the view of the media.

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  3. Beachbum

    I’m well aware of what you’re saying but you’re actually agreeing with me, as a civilian.

    As civilians, we are concerned with results and the life of the girl and even if we might not have been police officers, we are not stupid or thick and have every right to demand urgency form the police.

    I am very well acquainted with police procedure and how it operates but you have only added cerdibility to my concerns by pointing out the difference between a ‘missing person’ case and a ‘possible abduction and homicide’ case from your professional expert experience and for this, we should all be grateful..I’m not being funny here, I mean it.

    The first 48 hours is the crucial time in solving a murder/kidnapping case and the longer the police take to upgrade this case from a ‘missing person’ case, the less time they have to work with in successfully solving it; that she is already dead, there is absolutely no doubt in my own mind.

    The fact that CS Jones was head of the West Midlands CI unit gives me no great cause for confidence, given the disarray that the Metropolitan Police are now in, re corruption investigations and all that and also, I happen to live in the West Midlands and when PC Plod up here gets it wrong, he really get it wrong !

    This is meant as no disrespect to CS Jones but the help of the police with the experience of investigating similar cases in the country with the highest murder rate in the world should be seen as a plus…they have the most experience in the Caribbean and the Jamaican constabulary and Cayman police work together all the time…

    Forget egos, all hands to the pump to find this girl and what has happened to her is now the priority.

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  4. There are times when perceived lack of action is false. The RCIPS will be well aware of the urgency of this and will be following a wide variety of leads. Just because they don’t spend most of their time giving details to the Compass doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. Remember: in a situation like this, the media will be used – given only the minimum they need and far less than they want.

    The other aspect of all this that should not be forgotten is that all the enquiries have to be conducted within the law. If forensic evidence is to be seized, for example, then this must be done so that it is not compromised later in court. There have been failings in this particular area in recent years – the RCIPS are very keen to improve – and I am sure that forensic examination will be meticulous which, again, translates in the mind of the public as tardiness.

    Lets agree on one thing – the aim should be finding this person alive and hopefully well until such time as there is evidence that this will not happen. At that time let’s move onto the other kind of investigation. Regardless of what you feel in your bones, for the sake of this girl’s family, let us concentrate on finding her by the most effective means possible – meticulous police investigation.

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  5. Beachbum, point well taken about the disclosure of this case from the public. However, I must agree with firery’s statement on having Jamaican Homicide’ Police Officers coming here to assist with investigations. These officers see murders every week, and they are so familiar with how the perpatrators operate that I believe they could easily and accurately second-guess a case before finding evidence. There is a big difference between well educated officers and well experience officers in the field.

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  6. Your comment, B.T. – second guess a case before finding evidence – frightens me. That is the last thing you should do. Investigations are evidence led… go where the evidence takes you don’t try to preempt it.

    There is a very competent Chief Superintendent in charge. Let him get on with it. If you want an example of presumption without evidence look only as far as the Woolmer case. That was in Jamaica, wasn’t it!

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  7. Beachbum/B.T.

    This is what has been published about the Woolmer case.

    On 18 March 2007, Woolmer was found dead in his hotel room at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston, Jamaica. The initial report was that Woolmer had died of a heart attack. On 22 March, Jamaican police confirmed that a murder investigation had been launched due to the circumstances of Woolmer’s death, based on a report by pathologist Ere Seshaiah that Woolmer had died of asphyxia via manual strangulation. Police suspected that the murderer might have been a Pakistani upset over Pakistan’s recent defeat by Ireland in the World Cup

    On 6 November, coroner Patrick Murphy asked for further tests to be carried out on samples taken from Woolmer’s body following discrepancies in the toxicology reports by forensic scientists from the Caribbean and the UK.

    After hearing twenty-six days of evidence, the jury at the inquest returned an open verdict, refusing to rule out the controversial strangulation theory put forward by Ere Seshaiah

    This is condensed information that has been taken from Wikipedia and must be judged according to that standard but what is clear is that the Jamaican police opened a murder investigation based on a toxicology report that was later contested…and an open verdict was the ultimate judgement passed by the jury…the case remains unsolved.

    It is clear that the Jamaican police proceeded on a professional medical opinion.

    They did not ‘second guess’ a case or preempt the evidence.

    We accept Beachbums advice as sound but the Woolmer case is not an appropriate example on which to base his opinions.

    No one is questioning the Cayman investigator’s competence; all we are saying is that he should not hesitate to request any assistnace available, if necessary.

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  8. What we want is good investigation and good result. We need you to do your best to find the lady if she is alive and if she is dead find the body so that the family can have closure. We don’t need any popularity contest to try and dis any other country’s police service or to put up Superintendent Jones or any other officers from UK on any pedestal. What Mr. Jones was or did while he was in UK does not count for much in this investigation so stop blowing his trumpet for him and get the job done.

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  9. Firery: In the Woolmer case they assumed murder!

    Mr Islander: No one is suggesting any popularity contest, we all want the same thing. I have simply pointed out that the officer is an experienced investigator.

    Of course, if you would like your services run only by Caymanian, feel free. Its called independence. Go for it, Mr Islander…….

    Ye shall reap what you sow!

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  10. Firey,
    You really put Beachbum in his place.We’re not paying any attention to what he’s saying simply because this is just another foreign pitch that advocates dishing B.S. to the people of the Cayman Islands -v-s using our very own proven competent RCIP Police that were put on leave and not even charged for anything nor compensated. I guess it was to make room for UK police even though they are obviously less qualified. I’m tired of watching reports with UK police getting the crap beat out of them by unarmed civilians! Based on the level of performance and the heightened level of crime since our own Caymanian RCIP have been unfairly put on leave; it is clear and evident that the powers that be are happy with Caymanian people running scared and unsafe while the criminals run the country into the ground. Everyone wants to come to this little country to take a dunk why?
    The place is small and there is no excuse for so many unsolved crimes especially under this new Commissioner of police. Why is he still here?
    Might I add that your comment Beachbum for Cayman opting to go independent in order to run our own police force is a breach of security? You let the cat out of the bag! So that’s what this is all about? destroy the country with crimes unsolved, clean out the bank accounts, go independent, transfer our wealth to the UK and send the Cayman Islands to Hell with Independence?
    So are you Beachbum saying that in the meantime we have to put up with poor police leadership and a defeated police force? I beg to differ. We had other Uk police here that were superior in performance, and obviously somthing is very wrong if those officers were not allowed to continue in RCIP service, everyone of those crime fighters that were a force to be reckoned with are NO MORE members of the RCIP? Is this some kind of plot to allow gun toting insurrections, destroy Cayman, force us into independence and portray to the world that we are another Jamaica? We all know the history of England they are never intending for these Caribbean nations to rise out of crime, poverty and degredaton once they can not control us any longer. As pay back for freedom from slavery from the UK you empty our banks, run away our investors and transfer our wealth to the UK. We all know this, but I disagree with you we can and have already hired our very own Caymanian Comissioner of police and deputies to run the RCIP and they did a marvelous job, because crime was not on the increas or magnitude as it is now under
    David Baines something wrong.

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