Just seven short months ago, the families of four adolescent boys who went missing in 2003 had to come to terms with learning how they met their fate from the man who killed them and now two of the mothers must face another monster – the anniversary of their death.
The first boy, Mackinson Colas, was 11 years old and a sixth grader at Lewis Yard Primary when he disappeared on May 16.
Then DeAngelo McKenzie, a 13-year-old eighth grader at Jack Hayward High vanished 11 days later.
Two months after that, in July, 11-year-old Junior Reme, a fifth grade student at Freeport Primary, went missing on July 29.
Then on September 28, Desmond Rolle, a 14-year-old ninth grade student at St. Georges High, went missing after he left his part-time job that fateful Sunday morning.
Five-time convicted killer Cordell Farrington was handed down four life sentences on October 1, 2010 by a New Providence judge for the 2003 murders.
The 44-year-old Farrington had pleaded guilty to man-slaughter in the four cases.
By then, he was already serving a life sentence for the murder of his live-in friend, Jamaal Robins, which he carried out that same year.
The Court of Appeal overturned the murder conviction and death sentence and replaced them with a lesser charge of manslaughter.
The young boys and Robins, 22, had gone missing over a four-month period in 2003 before Farrington turned himself in to the police in October.
The boys had all attended government schools, were bag packers at a local grocery store, frequented the same downtown game room and lived in close proximity of each other.
For some time, the families of the juvenile boys feared they would not get justice as they had fought hard and long for the remains to be released in order for them to get a proper burial and begin to start the process of closure in knowing the boys were dead.
Then, in July 2008, the four grieving mothers were finally able to pay their last respects to the boys in a mass funeral held at the Community at Heart Tabernacle of the Church of God of Prophecy.
On learning of Farrington’s plea to the lesser charge of manslaughter, the Grand Bahama families called it a slap in the face and believed that the fact that Farrington would not be receiving the death penalty was an insult.
Last October, Families for Justice President Rev. Glenroy Bethel, who represented the mothers, called on parents and guardians to heed the warning signs and safeguard their children.
He noted, however, that the Grand Bahama community has gotten complacent and relaxed over the years as a number of children are unsupervised.
“We would not want to have history repeat itself like the Cordell Farrington case. We’re hoping that that does not happen but again we cannot be blinded into thinking that Cordell Farrington was the only predator in our community capable of doing what he did,” he said.
The first missing boys’ case that kicked off the fear and panic in the Grand Bahama community was that of 12-year-old Jake Grant who vanished on May 9, 2003.
While he, too, ran in the same circles as the four missing boys, police maintained that his case was not connected to theirs, despite the fact that Colas went missing seven days later.
Grant’s case was handled separately. Four boys between the ages of 11 and 13 were charged with his disappearance in October 2003, but it was dropped and they were set free.
Police say Grant’s case is still open and his remains are yet to be found.
By LEDEDRA MARCHE
Freeport News Senior Reporter