Relatives of 19 year old Michael Blades say they hold the police responsible in his disappearance upon release from custody.
The police have been criticized for not exercising due discretion in the release of the young man, whom family members say has mental issues.
Police Superintendent George Nicholas told a news conference Monday that Blades was arrested by the Vieux Fort police on November 22, 2019, in a robbery probe and was being held at the Choiseul police station.
He explained that the law allows the police to hold someone in custody for 72 hours.
According to Nicholas, the teenager was released on November 24th, way before the 72 hours elapsed.
The police realised that our evidence was not substantial enough, that is why he was released,” Nicholas, who is responsible for Territorial Policing explained.
He said he could not comment on the mental state of the young man.
However, an uncle of the teenager told St Lucia Times that the youth is ‘ a little retarded.’
“You all cannot hold the man and then drop him Sunday night. You all claiming you drop the man 6.30. When we review the camera, the camera showing they drop the man 9.30,” the uncle, who preferred not to be identified by name stated.
“And Choiseul is a place you hardly get rides there and not to say the man normal like me and you to find his way home. They arrest him without a cent in his pocket. Sunday is not a transport day. At that time of the night you releasing the man and you expect him to reach home?”
The uncle asserted that Blades should have been released in the daytime on Monday morning.
The uncle added that his nephew, who is from Vieux Fort, knows that area but is not acquainted with Choiseul where he was being held by the police.
“Up to now, nobody hasn’t spotted him anywhere. I mean – I don’t know what kind of police force we have. They supposed to serve and protect,” he said.
The police have appealed for public help in locating the missing youth.