Tonight, in an exclusive interview, our newsroom spoke with Laddie’s biological father Eugene Neal and his wife, Fay Neal who have been residing in the United States for over a decade. We join Reporter Vejea Alvarez for a look at the father’s perspective and the life of Laddie Gillett.
Vejea Alvarez, Love FM News: 14 year old Laddie Anthony Gillett will be laid to rest in a few days as the family tries to come to grips with his death, a tragedy that many have termed as senseless and avoidable. But aside from a story of Laddie’s demise there is another layer of controversy that seems to have been brewing for some years now. Laddie had been on a summer vacation in Placencia with his family when he was shot by a police officer. This family however did not include his biological parents Linda Gillett and Eugene Neal Sr. As a matter of fact Laddie had been moved from home to home since he was months old. He reached the age of fourteen without knowing who his biological parents were. His father Eugene Neal Sr spoke to us from his home in California today saying the news is hard for him to bear.
Vejea Alvarez, Love FM News: Neal says he found out about Laddie’s death from an old friend who resides in Belize. Tonight there are a lot of hurt and regrets to go around as explained by Neal. This photo he says is the only physical memory he has with his son who they affectionately referred to at Pep Pep when he was months old.
Eugene Neal Sr, Biological Father: “The last time I saw my son was when he was a child. She told me she was going to give up the little boy for adoption and to be truthful you know it hurt but I didn’t believe her anyway and when I do conscious she already gave the kid to somebody without my permission or my consent as the father so at least I could have give my word and know who my child went to.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love FM News: The 51 year old father says it was only a few weeks ago that he set out for his son if only to check in to make sure he was happy.
Eugene Neal Sr, Biological Father: “For the last two weeks I had my sister looking for him to know his location to know that he’s safe, that he’s happy and that he’s in good hands. That’s all I wanted to know. I didn’t want to take away my child from the adoptive people because I know he was trying to have a better life and I was happy that he got moved from through Majestic Alley and be with somebody safe that’s all and so I could reach out to him from America because I’m in a better position now me and my wife could try to help him.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love FM News: As for the biological mother Linda Gillett she says she has been looking for her son but only found out his whereabouts when she got the news of his death. After all is said and done she says she wants the child’s body handed over to them.
Linda Gillett, Biological Mother: “If they was misleading me to know where I can find my son I will get him and bring him here, he was gonna be safe like everybody else.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love FM News: When last did you speak to him ? How long ago was that and what was the last conversation like you had with him ?
Linda Gillett, Biological Mother: “When he was four years old. And after four years old that was the last time I saw my son and when I go to Camalote to look for him they say he’s in states. That’s when I found out where he was in Placencia, when he died then they decided to get contact to let me know my son died when he was alive try hunt him, find him, I never neglected him I still wanted him to know that he has a mother and he has sisters. I have nine children now one is gone I’m left with eight. He didn’t know his seven sisters and his next brother that he had in life. Give him his real parents and make the real parents handle the funeral or we could get together and we could sort this out because I don’t know who you people really are that have my son.
Vejea Alvarez, Love FM News: The father, unable to continue the interview, passed it on to his wife Faye Neal who says there should be no judgement on the parents and that there were several efforts made to locate Laddie.
Faye Neal, Stepmother.: “I guess people will say too little too late but that’s because tomorrow is not promised to anyone. We think that we have all the time in the world to do everything.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love FM News: In the end Laddie didn’t get to know his siblings or his blood relatives but all in all he seemed to have been surrounded by good and grounded families. For this his father gave thanks.
Eugene Neal Sr, Biological Father: “All I want to say to the adoptive family is thanks very much for taking care of my son and I appreciate it with a kind heart that they did the best for him. I’m happy they did that for my son.