At a quarter past six the Police Commissioner Chester Williams was alerted by the prison’s CEO of the mass escape at the Belize Central Prison. The police swung into high gear and mobilized a team to begin the installation of check points at strategic locations. It was nightfall and according to Commissioner Williams there wasn’t much that could have been done. At day break, however, the manhunt was on full scale.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “These escapees left the prison under the cover of night and so it was rather difficult for us to do much last night due to the fact that it was dark. And so what we did was to insert some of our officers along with prison officers in strategic locations where we believed these escapees might use as a route to escape the prison area and at first dawn this morning we mounted our VCPs in strategic locations on the highways including on the Boom road. We also this morning at first day break did an air reconnaissance using the helicopter. We flew over the entire prison area all the way to the Sibun area, we went all the way to mile thirty one behind the zoo as well as up the Bermudian Landing Road all the way to an area where Program of Belize has down that way all the way to nearly reaching Ship Yard with a view to see if we would have found any signs of these escapees but that was to no avail. We continued to do our searches. Since day break we have received a number of tips and everyone that we received we are acting upon but we still believe that a majority of the prisoners are within the area between miles 17 and mile 31 on the George Price Highway right in that vicinity of Democracia and Coastal Road and so we’re concentrating our search there. A family had reported to us that about twenty of them arrived at their home last night and took their food supplies and left so we’re sure that they are in that area and we’re hoping that before the day ends today we should be able to have majority of them in custody. I can also state that this morning we apprehended one of the escapees Mark Pelayo who was found right on this Boom Hattieville road by checkpoint- he is currently in custody being interviewed by the investigators with a view to ascertain from him what may have actually transpired.”
Commissioner Williams says their investigation led to them to a home where the escaped prisoners had gone to steal food rations and supplies.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “A family had complained that they visited their home late last night and their food supply was taken away so yes that is a crime and likewise the fact that the escaped from prison that too is a crime under the prison act. Again I would like to say that the criminal code also makes provision that anyone who harbors or aids any prisoner or any person who they believed to be wanted are guilty of an offence. So harboring a fugitive is an offence so please do not allow yourselves to be used. I want to also appeal to motorists to be extremely vigilant on the highways because for sure these fugitives may want vehicles and they might use that opportunity to hold up vehicles on the highways and take away the vehicles from those person who may have it so be extremely vigilant, do not stop for persons on the road that you do not know who they are and any unusual sighting please report them to us so that we can respond. Do not approach these persons as they are considered to be armed and dangerous.”