Muscat: An Indian schoolboy reportedly went missing from the parking lot of the Wadi Kabir Lulu Hypermarket at around 10:30 p.m. on Friday, while his parents and elder brother were inside the shopping centre. Noel Sam Abraham, a Class X student of Indian School Darsait (ISD), was sitting in his family's car preparing for his board exams, while his parents and brother were shopping in the hypermarket.
"While his parents went to the shopping centre, Noel remained inside the car and was studying. When the parents returned, they discovered that Noel was missing. They looked for him and realised something had gone wrong. They called us and the police. We, and the police rushed to the spot and tried our best to find him," Sam Abraham, a friend of Noel's parents, told Times of Oman.
The family and their friends suspect a forceful abduction. "The car was locked, but the windows were slightly lowered, so if somebody wanted to open it from the inside, they could. A torn piece of Noel's shirt collar was found inside the car, and all his papers and books were found scattered inside the car," the family friends said.
The Dog Squad and a special team from the Royal Oman Police (ROP) have collected evidence from the suspected crime scene. "They are doing their best to find Noel. Even the CCTV recordings from the hypermarket were examined. We are praying to the Almighty that he returns safely," the family friends added.
Noel's father, Abraham, is an employee at the Health Ministry, and his mother is working as a nurse in a private clinic. Meanwhile, an Indian expatriate who claimed to have witnessed the suspected crime later reportedly denied having witnessed anything, when summoned by the police.
"The Indian man came to Noel's house in the afternoon and claimed he had witnessed the suspected crime. According to him, a four-wheel-drive vehicle had been parked besides Noel's car, and a man had been seen standing near the car. But when we pleaded with him to tell his story to the police, he ran away. We didn't know who he was. But later, somebody else was able to identify him. They tracked him down, and he was summoned to the police station at 7 p.m. However, at the police station, he reportedly denied his claims and has washed his hands off the matter," the family friends remarked.
Meanwhile, a group of parents of students has submitted two memorandums to the Indian ambassador, seeking help. "This is not the first case. The safety of our children has become a major concern for us. Last week, a schoolgirl luckily escaped because of her bravery. We are worried. Two months ago, when another student was hit by a bus, we had to struggle a lot to file a case. Our girl children are abused by some of the bus drivers while on the bus. It has become a frightening situation," Wilson George, a parent, stated.
"The embassy officials have assured us of their help. We have pinned our hopes on them," the parents added.