Sunday 21 July, 2019

WATCH: Sisters of missing US couple emotional, hope siblings are found

Ninfa Urrutia, Oscar Suarez’s mother, looks on as her daughter (center) Susanna cries after hugging Coast Guard Commander (ag.) Ryan Alleyne (right). Standing beside Susanna is Barbados Tourism Product Authority rep Marsha Alleyne.

Ninfa Urrutia, Oscar Suarez’s mother, looks on as her daughter (center) Susanna cries after hugging Coast Guard Commander (ag.) Ryan Alleyne (right). Standing beside Susanna is Barbados Tourism Product Authority rep Marsha Alleyne.

The emotions of the family members of the two missing American visitors, Oscar Suarez and Magdalena Devil, are running high as their second 72-hour search window counts down.

With less than 24 hours left before the search for Suarez, Devil and the missing jet ski is called off by officials, the Suarez's sister Susanna is still hopeful of his safe return.

Hugging the Acting Commander of the Barbados Coast Guard, Ryan Alleyne after a press conference held at the Prime Minister's office along Bay Street on Saturday (June 29), Susanna told him that she dreams of his face at night.

Before tears started streaming down her face, she said that she sees Alleyne's face in her dreams coming to tell her that her brother has been found. Then she burst into tears before rubbing her eyes. Alleyne consoled her with a tight hug and squeeze before moving on to hug her mother - Ninfa Urrutia, and he also embraced Devil's dad - Antoine Devil.

As she dabbed her eyes with tissues, Susanna said that Barbados is an absolutely gorgeous island, but she wishes she was here under much different, happier circumstances. However, she added that the people have been wonderful to her and her mother in spite of the situation. 

The Suarezes were on the island from Wednesday, June 26. From Devil's side, only Devil’s father, Antoine Devil and her cousin Eric Pierre were here from Wednesday as well.

 

However, Devil's sister-in-law Luna was not quietly weeping after today's press conference. On the flip side, having only arrived on island yesterday and attending today's press conference, Luna felt like more could be done despite the extensive search effort being undertaken by agencies such as the Barbados Coast Guard, Barbados Defence Force, Royal Barbados Police Force Marine Unit, the Regional Security System and their counterparts in Martinique, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and neighbouring St. Lucia.

In addition, as of yesterday, a US Aircraft, a Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules, which is a four-engine turboprop military plane, joined the search. 

Luna was yelling out of emotion after the press conference. Looking out at Carlisle Bay, across the street from the Prime Minister's office, she could be heard loudly telling Press Secretary Roy Morris: "If I have to go look for her myself, I will."

She said that she is "not happy at all", in fact, she is "pissed". She even desperately asked about using a large submarine to search underwater as well or 'pinging' the cellphone which she is certain that the couple had in a plastic case with them on the jet ski, to help in the search.

Recognising that the family had been bombarded by speculation and "untrue" rumours circulating on Friday that the bodies of their loved ones had washed up on the shores of St. Lucia, the Minister of Tourism Kerrie Symmonds appealed to Barbadians in earnest saying:

"The authorities in St. Lucia have confirmed that there is no substance to that.

"I pause at this stage just to make an appeal to the Barbadians public. We all have families. I urge us to be mindful of the fact that the couple both have families who are on the island at this point and what they are going through is unimaginable. It is a tremendous level of personal pain and distress and concern, and what really is most unhelpful is for them to be put through the emotional peaks and troughs of a rollercoaster based purely on empty speculation and what is idle gossip." 

In the best interest of all concerned, he assured the family and the public that updates will be given formally via the press and from him personally going forward. 

Tomorrow around 10am, another update is promised, according to the Tourism Minister.

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