St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN); As it nears the two-week mark since 17-year-old high school student Leanna Napoleon disappeared without a trace, police say malicious persons continue to spread misinformation about the situation, which have the potential to negatively impact authorities’ efforts to locate the missing girl.
Leanna, who lived with her legal guardian in Keys Project, wrote one of her CXC exams on May 8, then reportedly went into town, and was not seen or heard from again.
One of the lead officers on the case, Assistant Commissioner of Police Terrence James, speaking with WINN FM Saturday, decried the dissemination of false reports suggesting where Leanna’s body might be.
“Some people can be really malicious. I mean this is a time when the country is really hurting in trying to find this young lady and people are putting things on social media that one wants to think that people are not really sympathetic about the situation that we are going through right now. we really have to reach out to people to ask them to refrain from doing these kinds of things.”
WINN FM: Do these kinds of things affect at all police operations in this case?
ACP James: "It does, because when people send information on social media we have to act on the information…we can’t say we think this is a hoax. So whenever information comes in we still have to go to the scene where they are saying, where they are pointing us to look.
"We have to try and analyze what people say on social media because we’re getting ‘check here, check there, and why they don’t check there’; so we check them to try and rule out any tidbit of information that comes in to the police.
“For example, they told us to go to the Basseterre High School Auditorium, the body might be there. I deployed resources there- nothing. So we’ve ruled out the auditorium. So these are the kinds of things that we are doing, trying to sift through all the information that comes through social media and anonymous phone calls.”
The most recent extensive Police search was conducted in the Keys and surrounding areas on Thursday (May 18).
ACP James said so far police have turned up nothing.
While there has been public criticism that there has been little outcry from the missing girl’s family, ACP James said Leanna’s relatives have been assisting police as best they can. He said they provided an item of clothing that belonged to Leanna for the search dogs to get her scent from, and continue to cooperate with police.
Since the girl’s disappearance combined agency search teams have gone out in the Buckley's and other areas and police have interviewed persons connected to the teen.
They continue to appeal to the public for information and a $25,000 reward is being offered for information relating to Leanna’s whereabouts.