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30 Murders in 80 Days

Today marks eighty days into the year 2017 and Belize has seen thirty murders occurring in various parts of the country but predominantly on the south side of Belize City.  Of the thirty homicides, fifteen of them occurred in old capital with fourteen happening on the south side and one on the north side.  It was in Belize City that the first murder for the year took place claiming the life of 22-year-old, Colin Sutherland.  The other victims in Belize City were Kenneth Dobson, Robert Gillett, Bert Abraham, Randolph Johnson, Salvador Marquez, Jaheem Mahler, Clinton Frazer, Mark Jones, Jason Cortez, Eaton Lamb, Everald Augustine, Lawrence Young, Marvin Flores and Julian Burke.  In the rural areas of the Belize District, there were a total of seven murders including Walter Dawson who was chopped to death as well as Godwin Panting, Albert Wade, Elbert Gillett, Michael Usher, John Ortiz and Felix Ayuso who was brutally slain in San Pedro on February 2.  On January 6, the usual peace and quiet in Punta Gorda Town was disrupted when Alex Palacio Junior was murdered.  The Cayo District accounts for six of the thirty murders whose victims were Alvaro Aldana, Chester Theus, Ernesto Wiltshire and Keona Ara whose body was found partially burnt on March 12 at a dumpsite.  The investigation into the fifth murder in the Cayo District is in its infancy stage as the body parts were found this afternoon in a crocus sac.  There is also the case of Carlos Manzanero who was killed in the adjacency zone between the border points of Benque Viejo del Carmen and Melchor de Mencos which we have placed in the Cayo jurisdiction.  In the Orange Walk District there was one murder so far with its victim being 54-year-old, Marcelino Chan who was stabbed to death on February 25 in San Roman Village.  There is, however, an open investigation that remains uncategorized as the investigators are still trying to determine the circumstances surrounding a skull that was found on March 18 at a dumpsite on the Chan Pine Ridge Road.  Also falling under the uncategorized list is the incident where a Hungarian couple were burnt up in their vehicle on the Placencia Road; investigators had noted that it may be a homicide investigation but no confirmation was given in that regard.  In the confirmed cases of murder, one was a female and the other twenty eight are males with one yet to be determined.  Six of the victims were teenagers; nine of them were in their 20s; three of them were in their 30s; five of them were in their 40s and five of them were above fifty years old.  The prosecution into the majority of these cases have been weak as was the case in 2016 where one hundred and thirty eight murders were registered with sixty four persons currently incarcerated pending trial.  The Belize Police Department is expected to release their National Crime Strategy on Thursday in Belize City.