(CMR) Caymanian Lurline Viola Henry Smith (59) and her son Anthony Ricardo Jackson (42) have been charged with child theft and appeared in court last Wednesday, June 1 where they had the proceedings transmitted to Grand Court. The allegations against the pair involve a 12-year old child from Jamaica who it is alleged was also subjected to mistreatment.
Smith and Jackson have also been charged with cruelty to a child after he was found to be malnourished, neglected and forced to be locked inside. After a lengthy investigation, they are accused of harboring a child knowing him to be so taken or enticed him away or detained him. The basic facts are that the boy arrived from Jamaica on January 17, 2019, after traveling as an unaccompanied minor on Cayman Airways and was in the family home. He came under an arrangement Smith made with parties in Jamaica.
He came on the radar of local authorities after he ran away on March 30, 2019, and Smith reported him missing that day. The following day a 911 call was placed that a child was found in distress in the water in East End near the high rocks.
He would later share with the authorities that he ran away and eventually went into the ocean to be rescued by the authorities. He explained that he was a 12-year-old child living with a lady and her son but he wanted to return to Jamaica.
Smith had initially claimed that “her son” had run away the day before. However, the name she gave to the authorities in the missing child report did not match the name given by the child once he was rescued. Despite that, it soon became clear it was the same child as the photo she provided was a match.
Once asked for identification for the child she indicated that he was given to her and that he was not enrolled in school because she was waiting on school records and his birth certificate.
However, she eventually produced a passport and birth certificate to the Health Services Authority for the child to receive assistance at the A&E. They provided information on the child including his physical state being less than ideal and that he was suffering from malnourishment.
Once the police confirmed it was the same child they arrested the pair at an address of John McLean Drive in East End.
It was soon discovered that the child was sent via his grandmother to the Cayman Islands where he was promised “a better life” which included laptops, skateboards and better job opportunities. Instead, he was locked up inside a residence with no schooling and made to do household chores. He was permitted very limited contact with his family in Jamaica.
In addition to that, he was severely beaten on numerous occasions to the point where he shared that was the reason he eventually ran away. He told the police that he was receiving a “murderous” beating and ran away; eventually leading him into the water where he felt he could attract the attention of the police. Some others had raised concerns about the physical beatings the boy received.
The child was subsequently returned to Jamaica where he was placed in protective child services in a government home and he remains a ward of the state.
As the police continued their investigations which involved multiple international agencies include the Jamaican Constabulary Force (JCF) and Interpol they soon discovered this was not the first child that mysteriously came to the Cayman Islands to Smith. In fact, their records showed a total of six children on record who had been named as her children and in her care. Further investigations confirmed that in fact, those six names belonged to only three children as she was renaming them and attempting to give them a new ID.
Childs 1, 2 and 3 were all the same person which came to Cayman as a 9-month-old female in June 1996. Childs 4 and 5 were the same male child who arrived in Cayman in June 2002. Both children traveled under false names. They allege that she had done this exact same thing with these children promising their family all a “better life” and making cash payments to keep the parties in Jamaica happy.
In 2004 Cayman Border Control (formerly immigration) had some concerns about the presence of one of the children here and launched an investigation. Most of these notes were now in achieved files and had to be found with some records not recoverable.
Smith had been receiving financial assistance from the Needs Assessment Unit claiming that she had children from 2016 until 2020. It was discovered that she was in fact actually sending a large sum of this money to Jamaica via Western Union in an attempt to secure even more children and made payments from 2017-2020. There had been reports in 2005 about some safeguarding concerns with other children in her home.
Smith had spent some time in Jamaica and returned in January 2007. The JCF confirmed that she was later deported from that country in 2014. Local residents familiar with the accused indicated she spent some time in a Jamaican prison. Up until that point she had made frequent trips to Jamaica.
Her ex-husband provided assistance sharing that she was infertile and was advised by doctors that she would need IVF treatment if she wanted more children. Despite that being the case several babies “showed up with her” at their matrimonial home. It appears he did not ask very many questions but was told that they were given to her by family in Jamaica. One day, he was surprised to return home to find the house “cleaned out” and she was gone with the two young kids never to return. He eventually filed for divorce on the grounds of abandonment.
Exclusive CMR sources shared that she actually had a hysterectomy and was incapable of having any more children.
The police also have what they say is evidence that she had unsuccessfully attempted to secure four other boys in the same manner. The police carried out a thorough investigation but found that most of the residents in East End were reluctant to share what they knew about the situation.
The pair is scheduled to return to court on June 11 for their first Grand Court appearance.