The saga concerning the extended family of missing landfill worker Anna Evans, who refused to leave their Shedden Road homes, came to an end on Wednesday with the arrest of four people and the demolition of two buildings. Among those arrested were Evans’s family members Anthony Scott and Lucy Ebanks, who were previously served with writ of possession papers but had refused to leave.
Royal Cayman Islands Police blocked off Shedden Road from Eastern Avenue to the junction of Maryland Street prior to the arrests. Chief Inspector Claudia Brady was in charge of the morning operation that involved at least 20 officers.
The arrests were made after the owner of the property, Kent “Biggie” Rankin, filed a complaint about criminal damage and criminal trespass. Ms. Brady said the people were not arrested simply because they refused to leave the property,
“There is no offense for that,” she said.
Police entered one of the homes occupied by Scott to make his arrest, while Ebanks was arrested outside of the house closest to Shedden Road.
“We had no issues with the arrests, no one was hurt, and an investigation will go forward now,” Ms. Brady said.
More than 20 people in six families, including the five children of Ms. Evans, occupied the homes, which had been subject to a writ of possession issued through the court since Oct. 16, 2012.
Family members in the area shouted at police as locals gathered in the street to watch the arrests.
One of the most vocal was Ms. Evans’s sister Noreen Dixon, who has been looking after the five children since Ms. Evans disappeared on Jan. 27, 2011, after last being seen at work at the George Town Landfill.
“There is no law in this country,” Ms. Dixon said. “This is what they are putting us through…”
Chief Inspector Brady said some of the children and their caretakers were given alternate housing.
“We ensured that was happening before anything was to be done here,” she said. “Some of the persons, of course, were resistant.”
Prior to the demolition of the row of homes, which started in the afternoon, possessions of the occupants who remained were removed and placed on the ground near the homes. Ms. Dixon and a few of the children ran into one of the homes to grab a few things, and then other family members removed numerous boxes and carried them across the road to the home of another family member.
Chief Inspector Brady said any personal items not taken would be secured until the owners found alternate housing.
At one point, the operator of the excavator demolishing one of the houses had to stop after it was discovered that someone was inside the home gathering belongings.
Ms. Dixon said Children and Family Services had secured a place for her and Ms. Evans’s children in one of the government affordable homes in Bodden Town. Another Evans family member who lived in one of the homes told George Town MLAs Marco Archer and Joey Hew, who were among the 200 or so people watching the demolition in the afternoon, that he and his family had nowhere to sleep that evening.
Contacted in the U.K., Cayman’s police commissioner David Baines underscored that “the law of the land must be complied with.” He explained that the situation on Shedden Road had advanced from a civil matter to a criminal one – specifically criminal trespass and criminal damage to property – clearing the way for his officers to move in.
He emphasized that the RCIPS was making every effort to ensure that the operation was executed “safely and without causing undue risk or harm to anyone.”
Cayman Compass journalists Brent Fuller and Samantha Bonham contributed to this article.