The fear that she experienced when her friend Kerran ‘Kerry-Ann’ Baker disappeared without a trace in July 2011, remains etched in Inia Ricketts’s mind.
In part two of Baker’s story for the Cayman Compass Cold Case series, in partnership with the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, we continue our spotlight on her murder, which is being investigated by the Serious Crime Review Team.
Instead of being able to celebrate Baker’s 35th birthday on 3 July, Ricketts and Baker’s family were left marking the 10th anniversary of the Jamaican nurse’s disappearance, on 30 July.
It’s a reality those who love Baker live with, as they continue to pray for justice for the woman who police believe was murdered back in 2011.
“She always wanted to be a wife and a mother, and she didn’t get that chance. Her life was snatched from her at the age of 25. Just come forward [and say something] because she has sisters that need closure… she has friends, her parents need closure. They’re going through it every day,” an emotional Ricketts pleaded during an interview with the Compass, via a Facebook messenger video call.
Ricketts, who returned to Jamaica a few years after Baker’s disappearance, was the first person to call the police to report her friend missing.
She said she still remembers the events and the concern that washed over her when she could not get hold of her friend the morning of 30 July 2011.
She said her friends had planned a sleepover at Baker’s Bodden Town apartment that day and Baker was going to cook for them.
She always wanted to be a wife and a mother, and she didn’t get that chance. Her life was snatched from her at the age of 25. – Inia Ricketts
The night before, they spoke to Baker, who told them she was going to the supermarket to get supplies, Ricketts recalled.
Baker’s supermarket run at Foster’s Airport, which was caught on the CCTV cameras there, was the last sighting of the Jamaican nurse before she disappeared.
Ricketts said that night there was a heavy downpour, and she went to bed. However, the next morning she got a call from Jamaica asking if she had heard from Baker.
“I took up my phone. I had noticed that I haven’t seen any missed calls and that’s a first. I called her and her phone was switched off. I continuously called her for about half an hour. It was switched off,” she said, adding that after the unanswered calls, she drove to the Bodden Town apartment to check on her.
“I didn’t see her car. Her slippers were outside and I knocked on the door. She wasn’t there; [I] continuously called. So I asked the landlord to open the door because ‘This is strange; Kerry doesn’t go anywhere without her phone and we can’t get her,’” she said.
The landlord initially declined, saying she and her friends were not renters nor her renter’s family.
Ricketts said she called the police and reported Baker’s disappearance. However, she said the initial response was they would have to wait for 24 to 48 hours to report her missing.
Ricketts was not satisfied, so she said her friends managed to convince the landlord to let them into the apartment.
“Immediately going through the door I knew something was up because [in] her kitchen the meat was left out from the night before, her slippers were outside and she wouldn’t leave her slippers outside for nothing. Her makeup bag was home and I am like, ‘This is serious. Kerry doesn’t go anywhere without her makeup or her phone,’” she said, adding Baker would always let her friends know wherever she was going.
Ricketts said she called the police again and this time they responded.
She said, without a doubt, she knows Baker was killed and it was someone she (Baker) knew.
“I have always known [who] was the person behind it, but, you know, they said they have to have evidence. I will always speak up on that. It doesn’t matter if it’s a life-or-death situation for me, I would always speak up on that situation. I know in my heart [who] had something to do with it,” she said.
Police did detain a suspect in Baker’s case in 2011, but they could not lay charges at the time, due to insufficient evidence.
Gone, but not forgotten
Not a day goes by, Ricketts said, that Baker is not in her thoughts.
“I miss her every day. She has the biggest portrait in my house. I miss her… on my computer screen that [portrait] has been stuck there for more than 10 years,” she said.
She is pleading for anyone with information on Baker’s disappearance to help the police deliver justice.
Anyone with information relating to Kerran Baker’s murder can call the Serious Crime Review Team confidential tip line at 649-2930.
“We’re still mourning a loss and it’s not like we got any closure. We didn’t get any closure to say ‘OK, we put her to rest’ or anything. She’s still missing. Every day is just still… especially like this on the anniversary of her being missing… it’s really hard on me, but especially on her family because they still have hope after 10 years that she’ll return home,” she said.
Ricketts said Baker’s mother is holding on to the hope that she will see her daughter walk through the front door, but she believes her friend “is no more here”.
“I know for her mother, she’s going through a lot, her sisters they’re going through it. So if you know anything about what happened to Kerry-Ann just step froward. They’re always looking for new evidence and new ways to solve the case… so step forward,” she pleaded.
Ricketts said she and her friends always get together every year to remember Baker and celebrate her life, and this year will be no different.