Eral Keith Whitely, 72, a George Town resident who has been reported as missing since Christmas, has still not been found by authorities.
According to the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, Mr. Whitely was last seen nearly three weeks ago in the vicinity of Seymour Road, also known as Dump Road.
Mr. Whitely lived in the Swamp area of George Town, a neighborhood between Esterley Tibbetts Highway and Eastern Avenue, with Godfrey Nixon Way directly to the south. He was last spotted there at a New Year’s party, and is believed to have been living rough there – possibly sleeping in cars – for the last several months since he left his shelter.
On Friday, 10 officers combed through the brush and bushes just north of the neighborhood, with the police helicopter flying overhead and a K-9 unit also on the prowl.
Detective Superintendent Peter Lansdown said this is the second phase of a coordinated search. Days before Friday’s search, officers swept the streets of the neighborhood. During that operation, Mr. Whitely’s mobile phone and some of his clothes were found in a car, which is why the RCIPS believes he could be staying in cars there.
“There’s every possibility that he’s still around, living rough,” Mr. Lansdown told reporters.
The detective added that Mr. Whitely has not been reported missing before, and there is no indication that he has any serious mental or physical health problems. However, the fact that he’s been missing for so long raises serious questions about the current state of his health and safety, according to police.
There is also no suggestion that the missing man is dangerous, so people who see him are encouraged to approach him, said Mr. Lansdown.
“We’ve talked to people who’ve seen him several weeks ago,” he said. “I need someone who’s seen him more recently than that.”
The RCIPS launched Friday’s search from the All Nations United Pentecostal Church. As officers fanned out from that point, pastor Dolbert Clarke approached Mr. Lansdown and said he recognized Mr. Whitely. He took photos of the missing man from the RCIPS, promising to circulate them to his congregation that weekend.
However, as of Monday, there was still no word on Mr. Whitely’s whereabouts.
Anyone with information about his whereabouts may contact the George Town Police Station at 949-4222. Anonymous tips can be provided directly to the RCIPS via Confidential Tip Line at 949-7777.