City Administrator Murdered by Husband

City Administrator Murdered by Husband

As the country observes Women’s Month in Belize, the news of the killing of Belize City’s Administrator, Stephanie Lindo-Garbutt, has not only come as a shocker but also as a stark reminder of the existence of gender-based violence, and its implications. The young mother of one was murdered by her husband over the weekend at their home in Belize City, where police found both their bodies covered in blood. The tragic incident has left many in tears and a state of disbelief. Reporter Vejea Alvarez tells us more. 

Vejea Alvarez, Love News: The black ribbon in front of this home on Freetown Road is a stark and grim reminder of the tragedy that played out there on Saturday morning. Just after 8 o’clock, Belize City Administrator Stephanie Lindo-Garbutt was shot and killed by her husband, Oswald Garbutt, who then turned the nine-millimeter on himself and fired one fatal round. The couple were inside their 2-story house when they began arguing and Garbutt pulled the trigger on his wife. The tragedy has left many in a state of shock, including their 13-year-old son, who was in his bedroom, and their worker of almost six years, Shantel Martinez, who was on the scene moments after the horrendous news had broken. 

Shantel Martinez, Employee: “I always saw them as a loving couple and stuff like that, I never saw anything wrong. We sit down and me and Mr.G and Khalid we conversed yesterday while I was working. I saw CA yesterday teasing her about her blue she had on yesterday and everything seems normal to me, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. So I was like “No.” I didn’t think it was them, maybe somebody else but not them. So I decided to jump up and come out. When I came out this is the news that I got. It’s shocking to me. I never expected anything like this.”

Vejea Alvarez, Love News: Stephanie served as the Belize City Council’s Administrator for close to six years and her loss is now being echoed by the black bow and this altar placed in front of City Hall. For her colleagues, it was a huge blow after they were able to secure their third term in office. Mayor-Elect Bernard Wagner says she was a stalwart of the council and a pillar in their success. 

Bernard Wagner, Mayor of Belize City: “It’s a huge loss for us at City Hall, for the city given the work and the professionalism she has shown throughout the six years she has been leading the city in respect to ensuring that we operate according to the regulations that govern any city. And so she’ll be missed, she certainly will be missed.”

Vejea Alvarez, Love News: By all accounts, there were no troubles in the marriage, and who could have seen the signs? On both of their Facebook pages, it was all smiles, loving messages, and heartfelt paragraphs. However, there may have been an element of domestic violence that may have resulted in Stephanie’s death. Police say there were previous unreported occurrences of domestic disturbance, but Mayor Wagner says he never saw any signs that Garbutt was suffering. 

Bernard Wagner, Mayor of Belize City: “To the best of my knowledge she didn’t demonstrate any sort of signs. I have meetings with the City Administrator every Monday morning and sometimes twice per week. I never saw any signs in respect to domestic violence. But we know domestic violence is prevalent globally.”

Vejea Alvarez, Love News: Stephanie was about to begin another three-year term at the council and was acknowledged as one of the hardest workers at the council. Her colleague, councilor elect Stephan Hamilton, spoke about the way Garbutt was able to succeed and pave her way to the top in a male-dominated field.

Stephan Hamilton, Councilor Elect: “Stephanie and I had both a professional and personal relationship. My projects as a matter of fact I must say a big thank you to her because she ensured that I was self motivated, she ensured that I delivered and for me I appreciated all her feedback. I still have not digested what happened however we will ensure that we take her legacy because he first and foremost priority was the residents of Belize City.”

Vejea Alvarez, Love News: Similarly, councilor elect Eluide Miller says that Garbutt was a role model to many. 

Eluide Miller, Councilor Elect: “She was a great critical thinker and so she was a good adviser right ? And even in my transition from moving as a staff member and moving into the political scene she offered great advice and she always expressed how excited she was for me and this new opportunity and all that the future held for me. I worked under her for the entirety of my young professional career just over four years and it’s been great. Like I said she always offered extremely great advice and she also played a role in me transitioning and so I’m most appreciative of that. She was always there.”

Vejea Alvarez, Love News: While what may have sparked the deadly ordeal is not known, Stephanie’s murder has left many searching for answers and shocked as to what could have happened. Martinez says she spent countless hours at the home and will remember the couple as a dynamic duo.

Shantel Martinez, Employee: “Mr.G is always outgoing. He likes music and sometimes just downstairs doing his work with the mechanics and stuff like that and CA usually she’s at work doing her paperwork very friendly, always outgoing and happy, running jokes and stuff like that so like I said we didn’t expect this. We didn’t expect this, this is very sad. I never expected this, nothing like this because like I said they were very loving to each other. Over Valentines he sit in the dark at work with her little balloon and all waiting for her and stuff like that so we never saw anything out of the ordinary for something like this to happen.” 
Vejea Alvarez, Love News: The pair leaves behind a teenage son, who is now forced to go through the world without his parents. Vejea Alvarez, Love News.

Stephanie Lindo Garbutt’s murder comes as the world celebrates Women’s Month. Her tragic passing has drawn many condolences, and this weekend, the People’s United Party’s United Women’s Group issued a release condemning her killing. The organization says that “Stephanie’s life was cruelly taken in a senseless act of violence, allegedly by her husband, Oswald Garbutt, who then ended his own life. Their child now faces the unimaginable grief of losing both parents. Stephanie’s untimely death serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need for action to address the epidemic of gender-based violence.”

Also sharing sympathies on Stephanie’s tragic murder was the Ministry of Rural Transformation, Community Development, Labour and Local Government. The ministry notes that Lindo-Garbutt exemplified unwavering dedication to the Belize City Council and its constituents. Stephanie was instrumental in advancing the council’s mission to serve the people of Belize City. Her leadership, characterized by commitment and inspiration, ensured the seamless implementation of council initiatives in alignment with its operational and strategic goals, fostering sustainable development within the municipality. The ministry expressed its condolences to Lindo Garbutt’s family and added that her presence will be dearly missed.

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