Popular Jamaican businessman believed to be held hostage

Popular businessman Richard Bowen is said to be held hostage by persons unknown, and his family is worried.

Bowen, managing director of Laribo Marketing Ltd, which, among other things, sells school memorabilia, was last seen in early June, one family member has said.

On Friday, Bowen’s sister, Dr Margaret Bowen, who said she was contacting the Jamaica Observer from the United States, suggested that the situation was serious.

“I am contacting you from North Carolina. My brother, Richard Francis Bowen from Kingston, Jamaica, was last seen on June 4, 2019.

“We are told that he is held hostage at (number deleted) Beechwood Avenue in a [in a]drug-infested boarding house. My brother lost his wife recently and has not been doing well.

“I love my brother. Please help!” Dr Bowen wrote.

When the Sunday Observer visited the venue mentioned on Beechwood Avenue, although the gate at the entrance was open, there was no one in sight. Knocks on the door were met with silence. The venue, based on its desription on the wall outside, appeared to be one that facilitates short-term recreational visits for customers.

One high-ranking police source said the matter had been reported to law enforcers by members of Bowen’s family, and an investigation was ongoing.

“We got an address regarding where Mr Bowen was possibly being held, but when the police got there no such thing was happening, and there was no one to speak to,” the senior official said.

Another family member said that an address on nearby Rousseau Road was also given, but that too yielded no results.

It is unclear how the situation arose or, if in fact Bowen was being held hostage, what the requirements are for his release.

The Sunday Observer received several pieces of information about Bowen’s possible relationship with his alleged abductors, but those could not be substantiated by the newspaper they have also held on to his car, seized the title to the vehicle, and have demanded that money that is owed be paid over forthwith,” a friend of Bowen told the Sunday Observer.

“We are indeed worried and fear that something terrible could befall Richard,” an associate of Bowen stated. “Maybe we are not aware of some of the details surrounding this whole matter, but we are concerned for his safety. It is unlike him not to contact anyone for so long… over six weeks now, and even for no one to be able to contact him.”

Calls made to Bowen’s cellular phone by the Sunday Observer yesterday went to voice-mail.

The Sunday Observer understands that Bowen had confirmed his attendance at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, but some of those who would have travelled with him said they have not heard from him since he gave that commitment. Some members of the Jamaica contingent are now in Peru. Action in the Games should start on July 25.

Bowen lost his wife Lanza, a lawyer, earlier this year. She died of a heart attack in Florida.

A proud Kingston College old boy, he is also involved, in the organising of mainly sporting events in certain parts of Jamaica.