Seven members of the Belize Defense Force and one police officer are in police custody following the fatal beating of 46-year-old Ariel Audinette. A post-mortem examination this afternoon revealed that he died due to blunt force trauma. He was beaten so bad that his kidneys and liver ruptured. The men who are accused of causing his death are behind bars tonight and the Belize Police Department confirmed that they are part of B-SAG, a unit of the BDF. As we reported, early on Wednesday the 7 BDF members allegedly attacked Audinette while he was at his residence in Orange Walk Town along with Oscar Payes, a man by the name Steve and a woman who we know as Dania. According to Manuelita Salazar, Dania accused the men of stealing her phone and went to the BDF soldier for them to act on her behalf.
Manuelita Salazar, Sister
“He said “mom they kicked me and beat me bad I am in bad pain and I can’t move.” Then I asked him who and he said it was the BDF, the ones in green suits about a ten of them. When they already beat him and when he told me how they beat him he said that first they beat him upstairs then they brought him downstairs near the septic tank and some man that was higher than them that was with them told him to give him a ‘second round’. When they were done giving him a second round from there I told him to “let’s go to the hospital”. He told me that he couldn’t move. Then we tried with the other little boy that was in pain too and we managed- when we picked up the little boy and we were taking him he said that he couldn’t see, his eyes were open and they couldn’t see. From there we took him, tried to put him in the vehicle and we brought him to the hospital. We came for an ambulance and when we did that the doctor said they had no nurses to go look for him. So we went back for him again and from there we came back to the hospital and then from there the ambulance and the police went back with us to pick him up. When we went to pick him up my little brother’s hands were white and I told my husband that the little boy’s hands were white. When we brought him to the hospital the doctors took him in and from there they were sponging him and he said that he didn’t feel good and that he felt that he would die. We told him to hold on. So my sister told me to do an ultrasound and I went to get the money to do the ultrasound. So when we got the money my sister called me back to say that he had died. We rushed back to the hospital but he wasn’t dead yet so they told us to stay outside. A while later the doctor called us in and told us that he had died already; all his bones were broken up all inside his body, all the bones that were between the chest were broken.”
Hipolito Novelo, Love News Reporter
“Why was he attacked?”
Manuelita Salazar, Sister
“Because they said that a girl was there with his next friend and the girl gave his friend the phone and when he gave the phone from there she asked the boy back for his phone and they said the boy didn’t want to give her back the phone saying that it was her boyfriend. So she went out to eat and she saw the men and she brought them to the house. So I said that instead of that they should have just took them to the police station, they beat up the four of them that were in the house, all four of them were beaten up- one of them is critical in the hospital here right now in Orange Walk.”
This evening Assistant commissioner of Police and head of the Professional Standards Branch, Chester Williams, briefed the media at the Orange Walk Police Station.
ACP Chester Williams, Head, PSB
“Investigation yes we have obtained information that they were asking these young men about a cellphone and because the information about the cellphone was not forthcoming that is why the beatdown occurred. As it relates to your second question as to whether or not this is within the scope of BSAD’s responsibility the answer to that question is no. Matters of this nature should have been dealt with by the Orange Walk Police detachment and not BSAD. So if it is that they were the ones who went to the home then they would have been operating outside the scope of their responsibility as members of the BSAT. They had no directive from the Officer Commanding Orange Walk, nor the Northern Regional Commander or the Commissioner of Police no one per se who could have given them permission to be there gave them any authority to be there. If they did they surely acted criminally not only out of order but criminally but if it is that the investigation reveals that they really were the ones who did it then they will be dealt with criminally like any other persons. Well one person is dead the consequence of that is murder and yes we are not here to convict anybody but we will present the case to the DPP and she decides from there and if they are convicted the penalty for murder is either life or death.”
Payes remains hospitalized.