Woman missing; swept out to sea
December 27, 2013
Woman missing; swept out to sea

The relativeS of missing Buccament Bay Resort worker Josel Small are hopeful that she will be found, preferably alive.{{more}}

SEARCHLIGHT spoke to Ricky Small, husband of the 27-year-old chef, who said he had not yet given up on finding his soulmate, during what he described as the most difficult time in his life.

“I still believe she is okay. I still have hope,” a sobbing Small said by phone on Boxing Day, as he and his parents gathered at the home of his mother-in-law at Rillan Hill, waiting for word on his wife.

Small told SEARCHLIGHT that earlier that day, he was informed by the Coast Guard of the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force that they were continuing their search for Josel, who was swept out to sea on Christmas Eve night as she left work.

According to reports, Josel and two other co-workers were in the parking lot outside the resort, when they were overcome by the force of the river in the area, which had broken its banks and come onto the road.

While her co-workers were rescued, Josel was carried out to sea, and has not been seen since.

A distraught Ricky recounted that on the day he last saw her, they were making final preparations for Christmas celebrations at their Lowmans Hill home, just before she left for work.

“She told me to take the last two cakes out of the oven and put in the ham. Then I was putting up the curtains.”

Small said that he, along with their 11-month-old son fell asleep, only to be awakened by a telephone call from his mother-in-law. He said it was at this point he realized how bad the weather was.

“When I checked the time and saw it was after 12, I called her, but her phone was just ringing and there was no answer.

“I put on the radio and heard about all the damage, I just thought she got stuck down there….”

Josel would usually finish work between 10:30 and 11 p.m., and would usually be home shortly after.

“When I was there, a lady called me from the resort and told me there was an accident… so I got the boy dressed and took the boy to his grandmother.

“When I got there, that is when I saw the damages. I talked to a security guard who told me she got swept away. I couldn’t believe it.”

Small said that he and Josel had dated for four years before they got married last year.

The grieving husband described his wife as “the sweetest girl in the world,” who was loving, kind and thoughtful.

“She was the best wife and mother you could ask for,” the emotionally overcome man indicated.

His sentiments was shared by Josel’s sister Diana Browne, who, along other family members and friends, journey to the resort on Christmas Day to be with Ricky as he waited for word from the authorities.

“Josel loved to laugh, she was always jovial and giving. She loved what she did, but she loved her family more. She was eager to get home to them that night,” she said on Boxing Day.

“He is crushed. We always looked at them as soulmates. He said he doesn’t know if he could live without her.”

Diana said that former Questelles Government, Intermediate High School, and St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College Technical Division student, had worked at the resort since it began operations and was an aspiring chef.

She said that she last saw her sister on Saturday as they were making plans for the holidays.

She said that although they were very close and constantly in touch with each other, she regrets not spending more time with her sister, and is looking forward to a conclusion to the tragic ordeal.

“We are hoping to find her for closure, and we are trying to be positive and we have to be realistic…. The fact that no body has been found, we are hoping that she is still alive, but the reality is there.

“Sometimes you wish you had more time to tell them more things….”

January 14 2014 would mark two years since the couple were married. Their son will turn one-year-old on January 12.(JJ)