TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO – NEWSDAY – HAS a cult lured away 16-year-old schoolgirl Shindlar Cuffy?
This is the question Cuffy’s mother Shondel Shallow was asking yesterday after she found a letter which she says was written by her daughter and addressed to the family.
Shallow found the letter on Christmas Eve while tidying up Cuffy’s bedroom. The letter is now in the hands of the police.
In the letter, Shindlar wrote that the Lord had sent her on a mission.
“I can’t disobey him. I just want to let you know that I will be okay. I am safe. Please don’t worry about me,” Cuffy wrote.
As Shallow was being interviewed by Newsday, she began to weep.
Cuffy wrote that she had to leave home, since: “staying here is killing your spirit faster.” But she ended the letter by stating her deep love for the family and saying she would miss them very much.
Tears streaming down her face, Shallow said, “Yes, this is my daughter’s handwriting, but this is not her speaking. This is not my little girl. She would never want to run away from home.
“This is not the work of God. The god we serve is a good god and He never take a child away from her family like this.
“I think my baby girl was lured away by some kind of cult. This is evil.”
Shallow believes her daughter is in great danger and is being held against her will.
“Since I read this letter I keep on having nightmares about my little girl. I saw her in a place screaming for help, but in the dream, I try to reach her and I could not…then I would awake sweating. Why, why Shindlar? Why did they choose my little girl? I just want my little girl back home.”
Shallow said she also found a folder in her daughter’s room with a black cross drawn on the cover. She described the writing on the folder as a riddle: “If you get taken you need to read it,” was written on one part. On another are the words, “Read only after rapture.”
“Rapture” is a term used by some Christian sects to describe an end time when all believers will be bodily lifted into the heavens.
Shallow said the people who have her daughter are not of God and their plan was well orchestrated. She recalled that weeks before her daughter’s disappearance, she saw Cuffy wearing a strange cross around her neck.
“When I asked her where she got it, she said it was from a friend. I really did not pay any mind to it until after she disappeared.
“Oh God, I should have questioned her more about that cross. She may have been here with me today, maybe she would have told me that they wanted to take her. Oh God, no.”
Today marks a month and two days since Cuffy, a fifth-form student, went missing. On November 26, Shallow and her daughter left their home at Rosehill Street, Claxton Bay and walked to the Southern Main Road to wait for a taxi to take Cuffy to school. A few minutes later, a white AD wagon taxi stopped with two other passengers, and Cuffy got in to be taken to the Marabella North Secondary.
At about 3.30 pm, Shallow became worried when her daughter had not returned home. She called Cuffy’s cell phone but the call went to voicemail.
Shallow went to the school and learnt that her daughter had not shown up for classes.
Cuffy is described as having albinism and her hair is blonde. She was last seen wearing her school uniform – a white shirt and blue skirt and tie. She also had a coloured knapsack containing her schoolbooks.
Police sources said since her disappearance, no one has called the family to demand any ransom or to indicate where Cuffy is.
Marabella police and the Anti-Kidnapping Unit are continuing investigations.