St Ann businesswoman killed - Never found missing son she searched for

May 29, 2019
Police cordon the area outside the home where Hardie-Lawrence lived.
Janet Hardie-Lawrence

Janet Hardie-Lawrence, the St Ann woman who had been searching for her son for more than 17 years, was murdered at her home in Tower Isle, St Mary, early Tuesday morning.

Her husband, Kirkland Lawrence, a member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, is in police custody.

Deputy Superintendent Gary Flash told the media that the shooting took place about 6:30 on Tuesday morning.

“We are currently conducting an investigation into an alleged case of murder. We can’t give out any information now but I can tell you that a police officer was involved. As soon as we are clear, we will update you further,” Flash said.

The police and the Independent Commission of Investigations are investigating the incident.

Hardie-Lawrence had been featured in THE STAR and The Gleaner over the years, after her son, Rojay King, went missing several years ago, while with her at a beach in St Ann.

In 2018, there was a glimmer of hope as a young man who was trying to find his roots, told THE STAR that he was willing to do a DNA test to see whether he was her son. But the test was never done.

Go through hell

Hardie-Lawrence’s mother, Elain Stephenson, who was at the scene along with several other relatives, had to receive medication as she suffers from high blood pressure.

“Mi daughter go through hell. Mi daughter have a son missing from him a five year old an’ a struggle an’ a gwaan,” she cried. “She a mi basket, she is everything to me.”

The crowd only had kind words for Hardie-Lawrence, who started life as a vendor with a stall, fighting and overcoming the odds to become a successful businesswoman.

She opened the store Cabotine de Cres Boutique in St Ann’s Bay, and later became the owner of the plaza where it is still located.

Hardie-Lawrence had staged several pageants, sponsored various events and was known to support charitable causes.

One young woman said that Hardie-Lawrence was one of her biggest role models.

“Growing up as a teenager, sometimes we need clothes, we go to her store and she would give us a suit for the Christmas,” she said. “It’s a shock to everybody. She fight fi everything she have. She nuh badmind, she nuh grudgeful. Mi remember when my madda dead, a she sponsor everything fi di dead yaad.”

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