NEWS

Missing Talei: Shopkeeper Says ‘Stranger’ Walked In The Shop With Crying Child On The Same Day

Residents believe Talei was picked up by a ‘taxi driver’ and is now afraid to return her
09 Dec 2019 11:22
Missing Talei:  Shopkeeper Says ‘Stranger’ Walked In The Shop With Crying Child On The Same Day
The shop in Kalekana where the shopkeeper sold snacks to a new man in the area who was walking with a crying child. Photo: Shalveen Chand

 

It’s been 10 days since young Talei Raikadroka disappeared mysteriously from her home in Kalekana on Saturday, November 30.

As the search for the three-year-old continues, residents in the area have come forward with their own possible theories.

Some said that a few nights before Talei disappeared, she had walked to the shop at the junction of Kalekana and Queens Road. They said Talei was spotted at the shop by two boys from the settlement who had gone to the shop. More than one resident testified to this incident, including a shopkeeper who may have seen Talei walk out with a strange man on the afternoon of Saturday, November 30.

Resident Mereoni Siga said most people in Kalekana believed that Talei had once again walked onto the road and was probably picked up by a taxi driver, who was now afraid to bring her back. Resident Sera Nasiga also supports this theory.

Talei is said to have gone missing on the morning of Saturday, November 30. She was last seen on Friday night at her grandfather’s home, where she went to sleep.

Talei was then discovered missing when her mother, Losalini Lalaia, went to check on her on Saturday afternoon. An alarm was raised and the frantic search began.

Shopkeeper Roshni Lata, who was unaware that a child was missing, said it was around 4 pm on Saturday when he saw a man who was new to the area walked into their shop with a crying child, bought a packet of Bongo and later walked towards the main road.

Ms. Lata’s husband, Ravendra Singh, said his wife told the people searching for Talei that she had seen a crying child and a strange man walking towards the main road.

“At that point in time, she did not take a real good look at the child to say if it was the same child,” Mr. Singh said.

“But that man, she had never seen him before. We know most people from around here and this man was somebody new.”

The couple have been shopkeepers in the area for more than a decade.

Mr. Singh also highlighted the laxity and negligence that existed in the area when it came to children.

He said Kalekana was unlike Lami Village or Qauia where children would be inside their respective homes at night.

“Here, children can still be seen running and playing on the road as late as 10 pm.”

Meanwhile, a source close to Talei’s family said a faction of the family had sought answers from witchdoctors to get a location on the child’s whereabouts.

Talei’s grandfather Devekuta Raikadroka said there have been no new developments. He said all they could do was pray about the issue.

Police spokesperson Ana Naisoro said their investigation continued. The search for her will also continue until a decision is made to call it off. Last Saturday, Police sought directions to a pond and residents of Kalekana say they have seen Police officers combing areas near the cement factory.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback: shalveen.chand@fijisun.com.fj

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