‘I Have Accepted My Son Is Gone’

Police spokesperson Savaira Gonedua confirmed the search continued.
01 Feb 2021 11:38
‘I Have Accepted My Son Is Gone’
The Police search party at the Naqiroso Settlement in Velovelo, Lautoka, on January 31, 2021. Photo: Salote Qalubau INSET: Missing 3-year-old Karl Ratu.

Jeanne Ratu has accepted that her son is dead, despite the ongoing search by Police and villagers for three-year-old Karl Ratu at the Naqiroso Settlement in Velovelo Lautoka.

“Everyone was telling me don’t lose hope. I said no. If I keep telling myself he’s alive, when the time comes, it will really shatter me so last night I told myself I have to accept it, but it hurts,” she said.

Karl Ratu was last seen on Saturday at 2.30pm when his grandmother called him and the rest of her grandchildren to go to Naqiroso Village, Velovelo seaside since a boat was stuck near the mangroves.

“We went in the morning to get it out, but we couldn’t because it was stuck so my nephew came back and told my mum and she told them to all go after lunch,” she said.

“The two older kids were running in front and my two boys were running at the back while my mum was walking from the back. The older ones crossed the river and my two boys reached the edge and then my niece chased them back, so my older son ran back, but Karl stood there. When they looked back he was gone.”

Missing 3-year-old Karl Ratu.

Missing 3-year-old Karl Ratu.

She said she believes her youngest son may have tried to follow the older children into the water.

“I was at home when my older son came and asked if Karl is home and I said no, but I could see in his face that something happened, that’s when I followed him down the beach and started searching around. I swam there from three o’clock till almost six in the night just searching for him, calling out his name,” she said.

She said her brother and other villagers used a fishing net to try and find her son’s body.

“They all know that if they want to swim, they’ll tell me and I’ll come down with them, so it’s a shock to all of us that he may have followed them into the water,” she said.

Police spokesperson Savaira Gonedua confirmed the search continued.

“The victim was accompanied by his grandfather to check their boat which was stuck in the mangrove plants along the Velovelo seaside area in Lautoka when the incident occurred,” she said.

“Members of the public are reminded not to take advantage of the current weather situation as well as heed the advisory and warnings that were given by the relevant authorities.”

Edited by Jonathan Bryce 


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