The mother of seven-year-old Tyree Prentice, who is missing since Saturday, has told St. Lucia News Online (SNO) that based on information received she is not expecting her son – her only child – to be found alive.
“All I want is his body to bury him… I just want closure,” 32-year-old Shanfar Amedee of Belvedere, Canaries told SNO in an interview this afternoon.
The body of Tyree’s grandfather, 55-year-old Francis Clavier of Anse La Verde, Anse La Raye, was discovered about one mile off Anse Cochon Beach, near Anse La Raye on Sunday, Oct. 26.
Amedee, a dive shop assistant at Tikaye Resort, explained to SNO the events leading up to the discovery of her father’s body on Sunday.
Amedee said she last saw her son on the morning of Thursday, Oct. 23 when she drove him to the Canaries Infant School. She then headed to Grand Riviere, Gros Islet to stay with her boyfriend, leaving her son in the care of her mother.
She further explained that it was decided that since Tyree’s father, Ashley Prentice of Soufriere, was not available to keep him for the weekend, the boy would stay with his grandfather (Clavier) for the Jounen Kweyol weekend – something that is not unusual.
Clavier picked up his grandson Friday morning, as planned, in what was expected to be a joyful weekend with grandfather and grandson.
Amedee pointed out that though Clavier lived alone, his relatives live next door where he would normally go to eat.
On Saturday, Amedee said while heading to work from Castries she met a cousin who assured her that her son was alright. She said the cousin, who lives next door to Clavier, reported that Tyree and his grandfather ate Friday night and they both left Saturday morning for Canaries.
Amedee said she told the cousin to keep her updated so she could rest assure her father and son are safe and to “give her a shout” just in case. Amedee had also called a relative on Friday to check on her son.
However, little did Amedee knew that was the last time for the weekend anyone in the family would have seen her son and father alive.
Amedee further explained that while at work on Sunday, she received a call from one of two Tikaye Resort dive instructors who were at sea. One of the divers told her that they met a boat with some persons (appearing to be foreigners/tourists), who spotted the body of a young male – age seven or eight – floating in the water.
Amedee immediately called the resort’s manager who was off duty at the time. The manager then called the relevant authorities.
She said marine officers met the boat with the persons, who first saw the body, on their way to the scene. According to Amedee, the persons told the marine officers that they tried to stay close to the body as much as possible but the sea current kept pulling it further out into the sea until it eventually sank.
Amedee further told SNO that officers eventually found the body of a “Rasta” – an adult male with a dread-locked hairstyle – floating off the Anse Cochon Beach.
The “Rasta” turned out to be her father and she believed the body of the young boy was her son.
However, it was not until Monday afternoon that Amedee received a call informing her that her son and his grandfather were missing. She said relatives found it odd that Tyree did not attend school that day. The grandfather was expected to bring him to school.
Amedee said she finds it “confusing” that no one appeared to have missed her son and father on Saturday – even Sunday – despite the fact that he lived alone. She emphasized that relatives lived next door.
Amedee said she has been assisting the search for her only son. She and her boyfriend (not the child’s father) went on a kayak looking for the missing child. She said co-workers, relatives and concerned residents, along with the marine police, have been searching feverishly for the missing boy, travelling as far as Marigot at sea.
She said the search has also taken them to the shorelines.
Amedee is convinced her son is not alive based on the description of the body of the young boy that was spotted in the waters on Sunday.
She believes her father took his grandson on an excursion that turned tragic.
“… He loves my son. He would not think twice if my son asked him to go for a ride,” Amedee said.
She believes Tyree and Clavier were coming to surprise her at the resort when they got into difficulties. She has been an employee of the resort for about six weeks now.
“I am trying to think of all sorts of stuff,” she said.
While speaking to this SNO reporter, Amedee noted that her mother (probably having overheard the interview) began to cry.
“Every time she wakes up she cries… and that kills me,” Amedee said, adding that she is trying to be strong.
The mother said she just wants a body to bury.