When landfill worker Anna Evans went missing at the George Town dump site in January 2011, her family made frantic appeals for information in the hope of finding her alive.
Now, more than seven years later, they are issuing a new plea for anyone who knows what happened to Ms. Evans or has seen or heard from her since that day to come forward.
This time the appeal is a legal requirement in the somber process of having her officially declared as deceased.
“I would love for her to be alive, but at this stage it is very unlikely,” said Noreen Dixon, Ms. Evans’s sister.
She believes an official declaration of death will provide some closure for the family.
It will also assist the process of accessing Ms. Evans’s estate, potentially allowing some of her money and belongings to go to her five children.
Since Ms. Evans’s disappearance at age 37, Ms. Dixon has raised her sister’s children – Christopher, Celena, Chelsea, Cody and Cruz – along with her own son Zacheray, all aged between 7 and 19 at the time of the disappearance.
“I’m not going to tell you it’s been easy,” she said this week.
“It is hard; you have to buy clothes, you have to buy shoes. If they need to go on a school trip, you have to find money.
“It has been very rough, dealing with six kids without a father around to help, but I have done my best.”
Ms. Dixon accepts she may never find out what happened to her sister, but she hopes the process of having her declared deceased will make a difference for her children.
“We want to get her estate dealt with, so we can get the children sorted out. I am trying to find answers for them,” she said.
Attorneys from Walkers, which has taken on the case on a pro bono basis, are assisting Ms. Dixon.
They have appealed, through the Cayman Compass, for anyone with information about Ms. Evans to contact a specially set up email address at [email protected]
The firm has also been in contact with family members and with the banks to check for any signs that Ms. Evans had accessed her accounts since she went missing.
Those efforts yielded no result and the public appeal is the final step in the process of providing evidence to the court that Ms. Evans is no longer alive.
Under Cayman Islands law, after someone has been missing for more than seven years, there is an evidential presumption that they are deceased.
But Ms. Dixon still has to apply to the court for leave to swear her sister’s death as having occurred on or around Jan. 27, 2011.
That declaration is a precursor for an application to give her powers of administration in her sister’s estate.
The law dictates that when somebody dies while married, as Ms. Evans did, and there is no will, that the first $20,000 goes to the spouse.
As it stands, Ms. Dixon and Ms. Evans’s children simply do not know the value of the estate. It is possible, Walkers attorneys have cautioned, that they could go through this process and end up with nothing.
Ms. Dixon said she is hopeful that the process will yield closure for the family as well as some funds for Ms. Evans’s children.
She also holds out a faint hope that it may bring some answer to the mystery of what happened to Ms. Evans at the landfill site all those years ago.
“I still pray about it and ask God to direct the path of the person who knows what happened or is responsible for what happened. Maybe this will prick someone’s conscience,” she said.
“We want to find out what happened that day, but nobody is telling.”