During the turn of the New Year, a mother of two children, who asked not to be named, spent two days crying over the whereabouts of her six year-old son, Eddie.
“Never let your child out of your sight for even a second. I can’t find my son,” she wailed during questioning by the Liberian National Police.
According to the grieving mother, who clenched on to her older son, eight, who looked just as terrified as she was, she recollected the last time she saw Eddie.
“I had to travel and couldn’t take him along with me, so I gave $25 to friends of mine to watch over him for four days. They agreed and I decided to leave on December 23, 2015, which was the next day. So I brought my son to the Bassa Community in Red Light where they worked, handed over the money and a big travel bag filled with everything he would need until I could return,” said Eddie’s mother.
According to her, she purchased a laptop for Eddie during the Christmas and last remembered seeing him consumed in learning how to use it. Eddie hadn’t taken notice that she had left, nor did he see the kiss his mother blew in his direction to say goodbye.
“I tried calling everyday while on my trip, but to no avail. They never answered the phone and on my third day of calling, the number was disconnected. I knew something was wrong and had to cut my trip short to return to Liberia to find out what it was,” she shared.
Meanwhile, the Liberian National Police said Eddie was being moved from place to place during the time his mother was away, possibly so she would not know his whereabouts when she returned.
Eddie’s mother feels that her son was being held for ransom.
“The place I remember leaving my son, when I came back from my trip, I went there and was told they were no longer there. There was a guy, Banja, who normally lets me use his phone to call my friend. He allowed me to call them and they told me that I wouldn’t be getting my son back because I strained them,” she added.
According to the mother of two, she was told by Banja that he knew the place where her son was, but when she asked to be taken there, Banja refused.
“I don’t know what came over me, but he and I started tussling over his phone so that I could call back the number he had of my friend. One thing led to another and a crowd formed around us to handle the situation,” she added.
Eddie’s mother said she managed to call officers who arrested Banja for the kidnapping of her son.
“I cried and cried and cried. I couldn’t understand what I was feeling inside because it was so painful inside of me, right to my heart. The officers told me not to cry and asked me to go home. Instead, I held my other son and walked the streets of Red Light up until 11:00pm that night, hoping to find Eddie.”
Meanwhile, the LNP interrogated the suspect and used their intelligence to find the small child.
“They called me up the second day and asked me to reach to the zone to sign for my son. I was so relieved and happy and at the same time could only imagine what might have happened to him all those days we were separated.”
According to LNP, Eddie was in a bad state when they found him sleeping in a pile of his own filth. Dirty clothes, rotten food molded in broken dishes, drug infested items and other hazardous materials were spread around the room where Eddie was found.
“He was found in a drug infested gap by the police. Immediately my son was spotted, LNP arrested two men who the child was said to have been in the care of. They gathered the bag that fit the description of the things that I said I had packed for him,” she added.
Luckily, Eddie was in good spirits when he saw his mother, despite what the child had been through. Eddie revealed that he hadn’t eaten much or taken a bath the entire time he was in the hands of his two kidnappers.
“They beat me two times for going outside to look for food and no bathing. I’m hungry,” he told LNP.
Eddie was examined and bruises were found on his body but there were no signs of trauma or sexual abuse.
“Right now my children are tucked away in a safe place. I have absolutely no trust in anyone these days after what just happened to our family. The kidnappers claimed I over stayed the four days as promised and ended up staying away for more than a week. They told LNP that I owed them back the money they had to spend on Eddie and that’s the reason why they hid him,” she added.
According to LNP, they found out during their investigation that the two men hid Eddie from his mother because they claimed the child didn’t look good enough to go home.
“He was not in good shape to come back to me, that’s what they said,” she said in horror. “Imagine what would have happened to him if I hadn’t played fast in getting LNP involved?”