Residents may have been too scared or felt too bound by loyalty to tell detectives what they know about the whereabouts of a missing mother, the Commissioner of Police said yesterday.
Stephen Corbishley hoped that a $50,000 reward would prompt someone to reveal crucial information that will lead to Chavelle Dillon-Burgess, whose disappearance is being treated as a suspected murder.
He said: “I truly believe that there are a number of people in the community that know where Chavelle is and they have chosen either through fear or other loyalty not to contact us with that information.
“As a result of this, we made some discussions this weekend to setting a new position to support this investigation and I can announce that a reward of $50,000 will be made available on receipt of information that directly links to the finding of Chavelle.
“I need to be clear about this, it needs to be information that takes us to the location where Chavelle is.”
Mr Corbishley said that he appreciated information and suggestions provided by the public already.
He added: “This reward is not for that information, it’s not for somebody to make a suggestion and for us to be lucky and find her.
“This briefing is for someone or some people who know clearly where she is and this payment will be made on receipt of information to the Bermuda Police Service that takes us directly to find Chavelle.
If someone is worried about telling us this information it can be given to us in confidence. We will not disclose that person’s identity.
“However, we can’t have somebody coming forward who perhaps is involved in this crime. But I do believe that disclosure has been made to others about where she is and the reward is there to encourage somebody to come forward and tell us.”
Mr Corbishley said: “My belief is that parties involved in this matter will have disclosed to others where Chavelle is.
“I think potentially parties very close to those responsible.
“We can’t have a situation where somebody has committed a criminal act and then gets a financial reward for that.
“However, if somebody has been involved in some extremely minor way and whether it be the guilt or concern that they have troubles them, and they want to do the right thing, they should contact the Bermuda Police Service.”
He added: “I think there is a motivation when finances are offered, sadly, and it’s not unique to Bermuda within communities, it is easier to say nothing, than something, so perhaps this may motivate somebody to do the right thing.”
Mr Corbishley said: “We can manage their fear by the way in which we can deal with the information they provide.”
The commissioner said that his priority was to find Ms Dillon-Burgess, who has a toddler son and was reported missing on April 30, almost two weeks before her 27th birthday. Police said that friends and close associates had not seen or heard from her since April 11.
Mr Corbishley explained that a 39-year-old man was on bail in connection with the case and “investigations as to his involvement in Chavelle’s disappearance continue”.
He said: “We believe that Chavelle has come to the gravest of harm and that’s been indicated by the investigation that has taken place so far, and it’s something that obviously we’re looking to support the family with.”
The commissioner added: “Of course that heartache and trauma continues every day when Chavelle is not found and they’re not able to properly grieve and have her home.” He said that the reward was “not a desperate act” because police were working “extremely hard” to determine what happened to Ms Dillon-Burgess as well as who was responsible, and that searches for the young woman continued.
Mr Corbishley explained: “We have expert assistance from overseas that have experience in this specific kind of investigation and we have a number of locations that are being prioritised to search, with different skill sets and different equipment.
“However, this reward is added on to help Chavelle’s family.” He said that the $50,000 reward was “a philanthropic gesture by members of the community who wish to remain private”.
The commissioner added: “But one of the things it reflects to me is that there are people in the community that care, there are people that want to assist the BPS and above all there are people who want to do the right thing for Chavelle’s family.”
• Anyone with information that will lead to finding Chavelle Dillon-Burgess can contact police on 717-0854 or 717-0864