Friends of Natalie Pollonais and the public are desperate for news on her disappearance, but investigators say that sharing sensitive information can compromise their chances of returning her to her family.
While US$300,000 ransom was initially demanded for Pollonais' safe release, senior police officers confirmed that she remained missing. Social forums were abuzz with prayers and hope for Pollonais' return. Among them, several women who frequent the shopping malls in south Trinidad said they are fearful of being followed and kidnapped. In the past three years, Debe hairstyle Ria Sookdeo, designer Kirby Mohammed, and businesswoman Caroline Katwaroo all disappeared when they left their homes. They were never seen again.
Speaking to the Sunday Guardian yesterday, two senior officers said that in cases where a person is kidnapped for ransom, the victim’s life hangs on a thread as kidnappers often keep themselves apprised of the news and social media. If they feel that the police are closing in on their location, they can become erratic.
“There is nothing to report so far but we are still fighting, working around the clock to find her. This is a lady on a thin string in a matter of life and death and any misinformation can compromise our efforts. Our main concern is getting her safely back to her family,” a senior officer said.
The Pollonais family remained tightlipped on the investigation.
On Thursday, Pollonais, 49, the wife of Inland and Offshore Contractors Ltd (IOCL) director Jason Pollonais, went to the Central Athletic Club gym at C3 Centre in Ste Madeleine. CCTV footage showed that Pollonais visited a few stores and left comfortably in her BMW 5308 hybrid sedan just before noon. According to her family, she was expected to visit a friend in Palmiste but failed to show up. When calls to her cell phone went unanswered, her husband made a missing person report.
A report stated that when police traced her, they got a ping from a cell tower in the Valsayn/St Augustine area. A witness reported to police that around 11.45 am on Thursday, he saw Pollonais near the Debe Interchange and her car was being searched by two men wearing police uniforms. He said he assumed that she was caught in the police roadblock but after her photograph began circulating as a missing person that he realised something was wrong.
Around 10.30 that night, officers from the San Fernando CID, Organised Crime and Intelligence Unitm, and the Anti-Kidnapping Unit found Pollonais’ car in the parking lot of an apartment building off Union Boulevard, Cypress Hills, Union Hall.
A false registration plate had been stuck over the original plate to throw off the police. However, Pollonais' car is just one of two in the country. It was taken to the Special Evidence Recovery Unit where forensic experts will check for prints and other clues.