Eight years after she disappeared, the family of Kerran Baker still hold on to hope that she will one day walk back through the front door.
The popular nurse, 25, known to friends as ‘Kerry Berry’ went missing on a rainy July night in 2011. Traces of her blood were found in her apartment in the Beach Bay area and her car was discovered dumped close to Pedro St. James castle.
CCTV footage from the night of 30 July showed a man, his features indistinguishable in the gloomy half-light, walking along the road in the rain, close to where the car was discarded.
Volunteers searched the area around Pedro but no body was found. There were early reports of a possible domestic incident. Months later, an arrest was made, but no charges were brought and the trail went cold.
Now, detectives from the Serious Crime Review Team are revisiting the inquiry. They are making a new appeal, on the anniversary of her disappearance, for anyone with information about the case to come forward. Crime Stoppers has offered a $10,000 reward and police believe they are close to a breakthrough.
Detective John Southern, who is leading the investigation, said he is not able to tell the grieving parents of Baker that she may be alive.
“This is a murder investigation,” he said, “we believe, unfortunately, that she is dead.”
He believes the best police and the Cayman community can achieve for Baker’s parents, mother Sandra and stepfather Wilmot, is a sense of closure.
“Having met both parents, I know how much they loved their daughter and how much they still miss her every day. They are devastated, they are still grieving,” said Southern.
“Her mother still believes she is going to walk through the front door. Without some kind of closure, she will never be able to get past that and accept she is not coming home.”
Baker, originally from Jamaica, had moved to Cayman to take a job as a nurse in the office of Dr. Ruthlyn Pomares nearly three years before her disappearance. Her stepfather has worked as a tour bus driver on the island since 1999. Baker had developed a large social group of friends who liked to party together.
It was close friend Inia Ricketts who first raised the alarm on the Sunday after she disappeared. Though it had been less than 24 hours since she was last in touch, Kerran usually was in constant communication by text and phone and her friends were already concerned. When Ricketts visited her home and found her car missing and Baker not home she became concerned. After an initial search of the property, Baker’s phone, handbag and half unpacked groceries were found.
An investigation commenced and it emerged that Baker had stopped responding to texts or using her phone at 7.54pm the previous evening.
The discovery of the car, the blood found in her bedroom and the fact that she has not been seen or heard from since have led police to conclude she was murdered some time on that Saturday night.
Southern, part of a three-man squad of senior investigators tasked with reviewing historical cases at the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, said the incident had been identified as one that could still be solved. Though some cold cases are finally solved through a vital piece of new DNA evidence, Southern said the answers can sometimes be more simple.
“Loyalties change, friendships change, perhaps someone was afraid of a person and they are not afraid any longer,” he said.
He believes there are people in the Cayman Islands who know how Kerran Baker died. At least one witness came forward in the initial inquiry but ultimately declined to assist.
Southern says there will be no consequences for anyone who has held on to the secret for the past eight years.
“We will not judge them,” he said. “We understand circumstances change and some people may, with the benefit of time, see the importance of this and come forward.
“There are clearly people in Grand Cayman who have information about what happened and we want those people to contact us. We believe we can still solve this case and get closure for Kerran and her family.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Constable John Southern at 649‑4501 or by email [email protected] Cayman Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information that may lead to an arrest and charge in this matter. Tips may be submitted through Cayman Crime Stoppers by calling 800‑8477 or through the Submit a Tip function on the Cayman Crime Stoppers website.