Our judicial system has been known for its delay of justice at times. Many times we hear of court hearings being adjourned over and over or judgements delays for months and sometimes even years. One such case that has been among those clogged in the justice system is that of Bert Vasquez; the man accused of murder in the Cayo District. Four years ago, 13-year-old, Jasmine Lowe had gone missing and on June 6, 2012, her body was found and a post mortem examination was conducted on-site, only to find that Dr. Mario Estradabran was unable to determine the cause of death due to the advanced state of decomposition; he did, however note the presence of superficial wounds on the child’s body. The residents of Cayo were outraged and they came out in numbers. In 2012, the media spoke to the child’s father, Chris Lowe who explained that she was preparing to take part in a special event and it was during that preparation that she went missing.
“I left her after church, she went to spend the night with her mother and she had an important thing to do, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in Belmopan was with the scouts and she was all excited about that so she memorized the prayer and everything and so she stayed in town and then on Monday the next day she helped my work produce our products and then she left the house at 2pm. Usually she’s more intelligent that to jump in any taxi so she must have known the guy. She was supposed to go up to the mother’s salon and get her nails done and that sort of thing to look good at the Jubilee at Belmopan.”
The pressure by the residents in the twin towns was persistent and at the time, the Officer Commanding the San Ignacio Police, Chester Williams, assured the concerned citizens that the police had the necessary evidence to close the case and see to it that justice would be served and that the culprit would be found and that came in the name of Bert Vasquez, who was the man charged for Lowe’s murder.
“We cannot say definitely that that particular car is the car that picked her up because as you know the company does not make one vehicle of the same description. However as a part of investigation process we want to locate that vehicle, it’s a vehicle of interest because we the Belize Police Department do not have the capability does not mean we will leave it as that. The US embassy will be assisting us in trying to upgrade the video, it’s a fairly good video just that we do not have the technology to zoom it in that we would be able to identify the license plate of the vehicle as well as those persons within the vehicle. We also believe that she was murdered some time on Monday night and the location where the body is at this time I do not believe that is that area she was murdered. We believe that she was dumped in that area and if Jack is back as you may want to suggest and if he is in my community he won’t last long.”
Vasquez remains on remand at the Belize Central Prison, four years later. He last appeared in Court for alleged sexual offences in February 2016 but there has been nothing in the courts just yet regarding the murder trial. Vasquez’ attorney, Oscar Selgado, however, is confident that the accused will be freed because he says there have been no substantial evidence as Williams had alluded to back in 2012.
“Defense Attorneys crave those opportunities and I for one having looked at what the media was saying at the time when now senior Superintendent Chester Williams went out to the media and hailed that he had the person and he had so much evidence it was all bull, there is no such evidence before the court, there is no such evidence in the hands of the police as a matter of fact all that the police have is a very thin line of circumstantial evidence and the case law is saying that the threshold upon which circumstantial evidence can be used to convict will not be met. What the police said in the press conference is was just either to please public opinion, to satisfy public outrage at the time or merely shouting wolf.”
Jasmine Lowe went missing on Monday, June 4, 2012 and was found dead two days later on June 6 on a farm about a mile outside Santa Elena Town in the village of Cristo Rey, Cayo District.