A big secret on a small island

(TRINIDAD EXPRESS) – Promised a better life, and love, Dianne Richards packed up and moved to ­Tobago.

She secured a decent-paying job as a manager at a guest house in Scarborough. And spent her time with a man she grew to love.

But that love affair turned into a tragedy, her family ­believe. On December 14, 2018, Richards called her mother, who lives in the US.

In tears, 38-year-old Richards told her mother she was being threatened, and feared for her life.

She spoke about verbal and physical abuse at the hands of someone she loved. That day was also the last time Richards posted on her Facebook page.

“She told her mother that she had an argument with a man, and he had threatened her. She had known the man for a long time and they were having problems. But her mother did not think it was very serious,” a relative said.

Her mother, Jennifer Richards-Rudd, received a telephone call from her daughter’s employer two weeks later.

She had not reported for work, and that was not like her. Richards lived on the same compound and never missed a day of work.

Richards-Rudd ­contacted the Scarborough police, seeking assistance in locating her daughter. And when that proved futile, the mother travelled to Tobago in search of her child.

The relative said Richards-Rudd went door to door, asking questions about her daughter’s life in Tobago and her disappearance.

But there were no leads. After a month, Richards-­Rudd returned to the US, no closer to finding her ­daughter.

The relative said: “The mother is very worried. She came home and went to Tobago. She said it is not like her daughter not to contact her on Christmas. That was when she knew something is terribly wrong. But she did not find any information and had to return home.”

Scarborough police confirmed a missing person’s ­report was filed. Investigators said there were no leads in the case, but it was not closed.

Police said the search continues for a man they believe holds the key to finding Richards.

The police have also asked that anyone with information come forward and assist the family in finding closure.

Richards was born in ­Siparia, where she grew up with her siblings. “But she had a difficult life and wanted to make something better.

“She got an opportunity to go to Tobago and she started at the bottom and became an important part in that establishment,” the relative said.

The relative said ­Richards’ apartment remained untouched.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Dianne Richards can call 800-TIPS; or contact the police at 555, 999, 911 or any police station.