Gruesome Murder in Willow’s Bank: Investigation Underway After Woman Found Dead, Toddler Abandoned

Gruesome Murder in Willow’s Bank: Investigation Underway After Woman Found Dead, Toddler Abandoned

The reports of a woman’s murder, and her abandoned toddler surfaced at around eight o’clock last night.  The details were sketchy, and the very few residents of Willow’s Bank was not offering much information on the gruesome murder.  Police responded to the scene, but there was little that could have been done in the dark of the night.  This morning, investigators, and personnel from Scenes of Crime went equipped to process the crime scene, through the River Valley.  Reporter Kendra Romero and Cameraman Angel Noble travelled to the rural area to gather details on what really happened.

Kendra Romero, Love News : A mother of two was found murdered, and dumped just one foot off the side of the road in Willows Bank Village, Belize District. Last night at around seven o’clock, 30-year-old, Margaret Ann Cleland, was found lying face down in a pool of blood with apparent injuries to the back of the head. The common-law-husband, 52-year-old, Emeterio ‘Lunx’ Reyes, told investigators that he made the discovery when he got home from work.  Reyes says he heard his 18-month-old son calling for him that is when he found the child on a rock in a waterhole, near the house.  Having secured the child, Reyes then set out to find his wife, but she was nowhere in the yard or house.  After seeking assistance from the neighbors the woman’s body was found.  One of the neighbors spoke to Love News and confirmed that Reyes had just gotten into the village at about 6:25 last night.

Neighbor: “He came off of the bus at about 6:25 and he said when he went over to his house he heard his baby hollering for him but he noticed his baby was by the waterhole but the mother nowhere to be seen so he was hollering for the mother and couldn’t find the mother. So he picked up the baby and came across to my house but he came across crying big bawling and crying hard. So I went and I hailed my wife because she had just come off of the bus with him too and I told her to come here. I told her that he is out here crying with his baby. So when we came out and he was explaining to me that he found his baby in the water hole and nowhere to be found he can’t find the lady anywhere then we told him well let’s come over here. When we came over here all three of us along with him when we got to the house side we found blood by the front door so I hailed them and I told them come watch here. Then he went and showed us the water hole where the baby was in and we came on the road side and we called the police. As we came on the road now the next young man that was with me saw the lady on the side of the road dead. The lady was face down, you could see that she had blood in the back of her head but yeah he was really taking it hard, real hard.”

Kendra Romero, Love News : Police officers as well as the scenes of crime personnel were at the crime scene last night and this morning.  Blood spatters and stains were visible on the door and walls of the house, as well as outside the front door.  Tonight, credible information suggests that investigators are leaning towards a domestic situation turned fatal.  But what could have happened that made this young mother’s life callously taken away ?  Neighbors say Cleland was quiet, and shy but was that her, or was it really a cry for help ?

Neighbor: “Miss well honestly any time you see that lady she always keeps to herself, I don’t know how to say it. She always was like somebody that when you see her she would always shy or I don’t know that is the type of person I saw her as.”Kendra Romero, Love News : As the news of Cleland’s death spread, so were the reports and accounts of family and friends who say the relationship was volatile. Reports are conflicting but what raises eyebrows was Cleland’s prediction of her murder.  Somehow, she knew her demise was near, and three days ago she took to Facebook saying she was going to be killed soon. With speculations high and wide the Police Commissioner has issued a statement saying “we are noticing that some people are taking to social media that the woman who is the victim of a murder in rural Belize is or may have been a witness in a case. I can confirm that the victim is neither a witness and she had not provided any information to police regarding any criminal activity. We have also seen some comments purported to have been made by her prior to her death. I can also confirm that the content of those comments were only brought to our attention this morning and we cannot at this time confirm if they were indeed made by her. If they were made by her prior to her death, then we wish she had come to us that way we would have looked into the situation and find out who wanted her dead. At this time I can assure the public that we are leaving no stone unturned to find out what happened to her and bring who is responsible to justice. We also call upon anyone who may have any information that can assist the investigation to please share those information with us or call 922. We express our sincerest condolences to the family for their lost and ask that they be kept in our prayers.” Reyes is currently detained by police as the investigation continues. Meanwhile the child has been placed with social services. Reporting for Love News I am Kendra Romero.

Residents of Willow’s Bank were hesitant to talk, and Cleland had very few family members to speak up for her.  We did, however, locate a close friend who shared a mother/daughter friendship with the victim, some years ago.  While she agreed to the interview, she asked that her name be withheld.

Friend: “Quiet quiet quiet. Anybody in Ladyville or anybody they can tell you she is a quiet person. We are all family, we’re always there for one another.”

Reporter: Did Ann ever tell you any problems that she was having ? 

Friend: “No. Nothing.”

Reporter: And you knew her husband ? 

Friend: “He was a nice person too. I know him as a nice person.”

Reporter: When was the last time you got to talk to her ? 

Friend: “From in last year from around October.”

Reporter: And she acted the same way she used to always act or did you notice anything different ? 

Friend: “Same way. The two of them came together.”

Reporter: How did you react when you heard that news ? 

Friend:  “I was so shocked. I was shocked. I just heard it this morning.”

Reporter: What is something you will always remember about Ann ?

Friend: “Always had a smile on her face, always.”

As it relates to the investigation, Assistant Commissioner of Police Hilberto Romero, would not reveal much, other than to say that the husband detained, and they are looking into multiple angles.

ACP Hilberto Romero, Commander of Eastern Division: “Around 8pm police responded to a report at Willows Bank where Emeterio Reyes reported that he found the motionless body of his common law wife Margaret Cleland in an area at Willows Bank near his house.”

Reporter: Could you speak in terms of what the police is leaning towards ? We understand that there is a suspicion of domestic violence and in speaking with some of the family members we’re also told that there may have been some sort of connection with the double homicide in Ladyville. Has your investigation been able to reveal any of that ? 

ACP Hilberto Romero, Commander of Eastern Division: “I cannot confirm that it is connected to that double murder. The body was found with stab wound injuries and that is all that we have at this time.”

Reporter: Can you say how many time she was stabbed and where ?

ACP Hilberto Romero, Commander of Eastern Division: “I cannot say how many times she was stabbed. We are awaiting a post mortem examination to determine that.”

Reporter: How long she had been murdered before she was found ? 

ACP Hilberto Romero, Commander of Eastern Division: “Yes the post mortem will determine that as well.”

Reporter: There’s also another angle of the story where she had social media posts where she was basically foretelling her death, that she was expecting to be killed. 

ACP Hilberto Romero, Commander of Eastern Division: “Yes we have those posts and a thorough investigation is being carried out.”

Reporter: And is the husband being cooperative ? 

ACP Hilberto Romero, Commander of Eastern Division:He is in our custody and he will be interviewed and that is all I can say at this time.”

Reporter: But you can’t indicate on whether he’s being cooperative with the authorities ? 

ACP Hilberto Romero, Commander of Eastern Division: “I will not go into any details. He will be interviewed and then we will know what he is saying but he is the one that made the report initially and I mentioned that he was the one that called the police that he had found the body of his common law.”

Reporter: But he is known to police correct ? He has a criminal record ?

Love News understands that the couple was living in the village for an estimated six months.  The toddler has been placed with social services.

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