Janet Hardie turned 44 years old yesterday. But this St Ann businesswoman was in no mood to celebrate. In fact, she has not done so since March 10, 2002, the day her baby, Rojay King, disappeared without a trace.
"I feel like a zombie," Hardie said yesterday, nothing that tomorrow will mark the 16th anniversary of her son's disappearance.
The young mother, her son, and a group of friends had gone to the Laughing Waters beach to celebrate her birthday that occurred two days earlier.
A fun-filled day quickly darkened as her five year old son, Rojay, disappeared from the beach after she stepped about 10 feet away from him to answer a telephone call. She said she had been gone for fewer than two minutes and her son was making a sandcastle.
"I glanced up to check on Rojay and he wasn't there. He wasn't in the same spot I had seen him just minutes before," said Hardie.
“I would give a million dollars or more just to find him," Hardie told THE WEEKEND STAR.
The group searched the entire beach, with almost everyone there that day helping out. Divers from a nearby resort were summoned and spent hours at sea looking for the boy, but there was no sign of him nor any clue about what had happened. Fellow beachgoers were adamant that the boy did not drown as they were sure someone would have noticed him in difficulty. Also, Hardie reasoned that he was keen on the sandcastle he was building just moments before he disappeared and it is unlikely he would have just got up and gone into the water, abandoning his creation.
Wound still open
"Its tough. It is raw and it hurt so bad. I had another child after but that wound is never close. I have got baptised so I my faith is strong that he will be found. I don’t celebrated birthday anymore because it reminds me so much of the incident that happen two days after my birthday,” she said.
“There are times when I said 'God, it better him did dead because I would have closure.'"
She had a nervous breakdown and ended up being admitted to hospital a few hours after she realised that her son was missing.
“I wanted to die then, and I was even on suicide watch but I want to live now. I am OK financially but I am still not happy. Sometimes I try to be happy but a part of me is missing. Although my other son doesn’t know him, he is suffering. There are days when he would say 'mom, I want a sibling', and to know that he has a brother out there who disappeared, without a trace, is heartbreaking,” she said.
Hardie is convinced her son was kidnapped. She said she has forgiven his kidnappers. She just wants to see Rojay, who is now 21 years old.
“There is absolutely nothing that I wouldn't do now to see my son. I want him to know that he has a mom and that I din’t give him away. I want him to know that he was just snatched away from me,” she said.
Hardie said that she had made numerous attempts to locate him, only to be scammed numerous times by unscrupulous persons claiming to know his whereabouts.
“People trick me say dem see him and me all rent car fi go for him and it was a wild-goose chase. Even police trick me too so I have been there. It really messed up to see how people would abuse certain situations and don’t know the pain they are adding to what is already a painful situation,” she said.