As police and volunteers on Wednesday searched for two boys and three men missing at sea, it emerged that burglars had exploited the tragedy by targeting the home of one of the missing boaters.
Police responded to reports of a burglary at the residence of one of the men, understood to be Gary Mullings, in Prospect on Tuesday morning.
Mr. Mullings, along with his nephews Nicholas Watler, Kamron Brown, 11, and Kanyi Brown, 9, and his friend Edsell Haylock were reported missing late Sunday after they did not return from a fishing trip to 12 Mile Bank. Their upturned vessel was located 20 miles offshore Monday.
Police confirmed, in response to questions from the Cayman Compass, that burglars had struck at the Prospect home of one of the men missing at sea. Two vehicles at the residence were also broken into.
Assistant Commissioner Anthony Ennis said, “It is unfortunate that in a time of tragedy someone would go and burglarize the residence of one of the victims. It is just very sad and has added another layer to the family’s grief.”
The burglary took place sometime between 10 a.m. Monday and 9 a.m. Tuesday, police believe.
The news emerged as family members and community volunteers joined police in a search of the shoreline.
A group of around 40 people, including members of the Jamaica Defense Force on island for a training course, were searching beaches and coastline around the island from 6 a.m. Wednesday.
“We are covering various areas on the south and southwest coast of the island in case any debris or anything like that has washed up,” said Marine Unit Inspector Leo Anglin.
Meanwhile, the marine police’s 65-foot search boat the Guardian, assisted by a U.S. Coast Guard plane, was continuing to conduct a grid-pattern search around the area where the capsized fishing boat was found Monday.
The Coast Guard plane dropped a tracking beacon at the site where the boat was found on Monday, which is being used as a reference point for where the currents may have dragged any survivors.
Mr. Ennis said police were still treating the effort as a “search and rescue mission” and remained hopeful survivors may be found.
“The family is clinging to hope and we have to cling to hope. We haven’t recovered bodies so the assumption is that there might be survivors. People have survived at sea sometimes for days.”