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Police say they cannot confirm couple’s death was a murder/suicide

Four persons died over the weekend, three of them by gunshots and a fourth in a hit and run incident. No arrests have been made in any of the cases and tonight we start our coverage of the tragic weekend with the death of 46-year-old Hermelinda Pinks Emmanuel and her husband 43-year-old Jason Emmanuel. The couple was found in their bedroom at their Rose Lane residence. Since the gruesome discovery was made, details of what transpired in that room are still a mystery. While the speculation is that Hermelinda was killed by a gunshot to the head by her husband who then turned the gun on himself, police have still not confirmed whether the incident is a case of murder/suicide. The incident has shaken the community and today we attempted to speak with both families but was unable to obtain comment from Emmanuel’s relatives. Tonight we bring you what police have shared with the media and what Hermelinda’s family has been willing to say on the tragic incident.

Dalila Ical Reporting

What unfolded in a room in the lower flat of this two-storey residence is still unknown. The facts are that the bodies of Hermelinda and Jason Emmanuel were discovered late Saturday afternoon, quite possibly hours after they died. Hermelinda’s brother Patrick Meighan says their family is struggling with the loss.

Patrick MeighanHermelinda Emmanuel’s brother

“There is no question to be asked to either of the side to her or her husband. So it’s something that is unanswered so it’s very tough, it’s very difficult and we are trying to take it in and believe it.”

The family is saying that Hermelinda had made plans with her sisters for Saturday but on that day, she never called and was not answering her phone. Late that evening, her sisters went knocking on her house on Rose Lane. The house was locked, her vehicle was at the house, Jason’s was not. When they opened a window to the couple’s bedroom, they discovered the bodies. Police were called and had to pry the door open to gain access inside. Hermelinda was found face up on the bed; she had sustained a gunshot wound in her left temple. Jason was face up on the floor. He had a gunshot wound in his right temple.

ASP Alejandro Cowo – Head, CIB Belize City

“At this moment I cannot tell you which one of them conducted or injured anybody. At this moment we are still looking on that angle and based on what the post mortem will indicate to us probably afterwards we can comment on it.”

Reports are that Emmanuel killed his wife and sometime later he turned the gun on himself.

ASP Alejandro Cowo – Head, CIB Belize City

“I cannot be in a position to tell you if one was killed before the other one. I know that from the scene the blood that was on the scene indicates that it had happened maybe twelve hours before the body was found but I cannot tell you if one was killed first or the other one. I am not in a position to tell you that at this moment.”

The police did, however, recover a weapon near Jason Emmanuel’s body.

ASP Alejandro Cowo – Head, CIB Belize City

“Police processed the scene there where they recovered a firearm Mr.Emmanuel’s body and likewise they found two expended shells and several ammunition on the bead and inside of the magazine.”

Her family says they have reason to believe he was drinking before he returned home that fatal night.

Patrick MeighanHermelinda Emmanuel’s brother

 “For one we know that he was intoxicated because of the way they found him. He threw up in the room and he had bands on his hand from some event or club that he was while his wife was at home sleeping in her bed. The way how we found her we found her how she normally sleeps. So I don’t think she would have been telling him anything or something like that. He was still partially dressed in the sense that he had his long pants on, still had his socks on and was in his undershirt and from past experience when I used to live with them some years ago , that is the way, because he would always come home with food when he went out, he would take off his clothes to that same point, eat his food and throw up if he had to throw up and go to his bed. So the way how we found him it looks like it happened early the morning around 3AM or 4AM.”

Police say they are waiting for the postmortem results to verify whether he was intoxicated or not.

Among the many questions being asked is whether Hermelinda Pinks Emmanuel was a victim of domestic violence. Many have claimed she was, some going as far as saying that her husband exercised “strict control” over her.

Patrick MeighanHermelinda Emmanuel’s brother

 “As far as I know I didn’t see any physical abuse. In any relationship you will have your ups and downs, you will have your arguments and what not so it could turn out being more verbal than physical.”

He did however share that Emmanuel, in his presence, had threatened his wife with death.

Patrick MeighanHermelinda Emmanuel’s brother

 “There was one time when I used to live with them, when I was a little bit younger she took me in and I was staying there and there were several times when she would be here at the family house and it’s time to go home she would call him, probably he wasn’t ready to go home and he wanted to be with his friends he used to curse and say a lot of stuff and thinking back there was one time he was taking us home and cursing saying everything and he made a threat and he said ‘Linda you don’t know me, I would kill you, kill him and kill myself that way nothing will come out if.’ and that was just a couple years ago; not knowing that this man would live up to his promise.”

As for his missing vehicle, police say they have recovered it.

ASP Alejandro Cowo – Head, CIB Belize City

“I was told that the vehicle that he owned was found by Manatee Lookout and the two front tires were flat or something like that. I cannot tell you what time it was parked there or for how long but I know that it was retrieved from that lation and brought to Belize City by the police.”

The couple had been married for about nine years, but police say there are no records that either of them had ever made a report to their domestic violence unit. However, there is an allegation Police had detained Emmanuel some days ago after he threatened his wife with a gun at a private party. That gun was allegedly taken from him but later returned. Police have not verified that incident. The UWG, the women’s arm of the PUP issued a release (to say there is the need to re-engage in the conversation on domestic violence, to sustain the discussion and to advocate for changes to be made in the law and in our culture. It goes on to say the social media outcry that has unfolded following this weekend incident is welcomed because it has given voice and hope to so many who continue to suffer in silence. The UWG says it is particularly concerned about the well-being of the couple’s children and encourages the state to provide the necessary counseling care required to help them through this very difficult time.