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#387243 - 09/07/10 11:22 PM Missing children
Marty Offline


The Toledo Alcalde Association is inviting residents of the Toledo District
to be a part of a prayer rally. The event is being held following the
disappearance of two children from San Marcus Village eight days ago.
Ligorio Coy is the Chairman of the Alcalde Association.

Ligorio Coy; Chairman, Alcalde Association

“I am inviting all the people here in Toledo to join us in prayer at the
Central Park here in Punta Gorda tomorrow at eight in the morning. We are
very concerned about these children and we can do as much as we can but we
believe that if we can join hands and heart together to join the parents of
the missing children in prayer. We are asking all people that can make it
tomorrow to the Central Park and pray for these children so that we can see
them back here in Toledo to their parents safely.”

On August 30th nine-year-old Onelia Rash and her brother 11-year-old
Benjamin Rash went missing. A number of efforts has been undertaken to find
the missing children, all proving fruitless so far. In related news
crocodile experts, Vincent and Cherie Rose have expressed disgust after
their property; the American Crocodile Education Sanctuary was burnt down
early Sunday morning. The building which was located on the outskirts of
Punta Gorda was reportedly torched by a number of Mayan villagers in that
area. The villagers reportedly burnt down the building after they were told
by a local physic that the couple knew the whereabouts of the two missing
children. In their release the couple explained that they have lost all
their belongings. They say they were in San Pedro at the request of the
Belize Forest Department rescuing three problematic crocodiles and meeting
with top Belizean officials to discuss prospects of creating a sanctuary on
Ambergris Caye when they received the news of what had transpired. The
couple plan on taking the Mayan-Belizean community involved in the incident
to court. Love News spoke to officer in charge of the Toledo Formation
Senior Superintendent Robert Mariano who told us that the file is being
prepared and will be forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions for
further directions. According to the couple the damage caused to the
American Crocodile Education Sanctuary is estimated at one million dollars.
The disappearance of the two children has caused tensions to rise as the
villagers continue their search for the children. In related news
Punta Gorda Police have arrested and charged forty-two year old Delfina
Alvarez Selgado for the offense of Pretends to tell fortune. Selgado who is
a housewife of Water Supply Area was arrested yesterday and has appeared in
the Punta Gorda Magistrates Court to answer to the charge. She pled not
guilty and was offered bail of one thousand five hundred dollars. Her case
was adjourned until October 12. In the meantime the Roses have taken their
story to the international press.

Story at http://www.lovefm.com/ndisplay.php?nid=12617

#387258 - 09/08/10 09:24 AM Re: Missing children [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
There is no good news to report tonight in the case of Benjamin and Ophelia Rash, the missing children from San Marcos Village in the Toledo District. The children have been missing for eight days and the community remains gravely concerned and agitated. They feel that they have been disrespected by the police who they say did not act quickly enough on the report of the missing children.

As we reported, Their father, Pedro Rash a farmer of San Marcos Village in Toledo, reported the 9 and 11 year old missing last Monday August 30th. They had been sent to Punta Gorda Town to sell lime and craboo and they have not been seen since 3:45 that afternoon when they were trying to catch a ride to go back home to San Marcos Village.

Police say they have deployed over 100 police officers and recruits to assist in the search. And while it has been going on intensively since last week Thursday - still there is no trace of Benjamin and Ophelia.

Channel 7

#387269 - 09/08/10 10:11 AM Re: Missing children [Re: Marty]
Amanda Syme Offline
I hope and pray that these kids are still alive and will return home soon. I couldn't imagine the pain and suffering the family is going through not knowing what has happened to them.

#387282 - 09/08/10 10:48 AM Re: Missing children [Re: Marty]
collyk Offline
It is awful to even begin to think about the bad things that could have happened to these kids. This is just so sad. I hope they are found safe and well.
Belize Wedding Photography

#387391 - 09/09/10 09:26 AM Re: Missing children [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Prayers For Missing Children In Punta Gorda

11 year old Benjamin and 9 year old Onelia Rash are still missing - 9 days after they were last seen near Cattle Landing, just outside Punta Gorda Town.

Police have over 100 of their personnel involved in the search, but still tonight there are no leads.

Today in Punta Gorda Town, the Alcaldes association held a peaceful public gathering to pray and to demand that their side of the story be told. 7news was there:…

Jules Vasquez, Reporting
If ever the power of prayer was collectively harnessed - it happened this morning at the Punta Gorda Central Park - when the Toledo Alcalde association brought in over 100 villagers who gathered with their leaders to publicly pray for the return of Ophelia and Benjamin Rash.

It wasn't just prayer, there was politics as well - not the UDP PUP kind, but the kind where this community - which has been unfairly collectively demonized - gathered with sympathizers and took a peaceful, purposeful stand to vindicate their name after bring demonized as savages:

To that end, the gathering offered in English a hyper detailed 19 page account of all the events that have transpired since August 30th- as related by the parents of the missing children.

The gathering also laid out an 8 point resolution.

Ligorio Coy - Chairman, Alcalde Associaiton
"We resist any from a conflict of interest on the part of Mr. Makin base on the statement he made to us regarding the relationship with the person of interest Vince Rose. We are disappointed that one of our fellow villager who volunteer information to the parents about the disappearance of the children and was eventually lock down simply on the explanation that he held a picture of the children, while Vince Rose who has mounting suspicion against him walking out the police station under police and BDF escort and there after walk out from the detention. This is our view of outright discrimination."

Gregory Choc, SATIIM
"It is important to set up a system that would ensure and assure the community that their interest is being taken seriously and from the discussion we've had I see the coming around of this structure. There is a group now that the assistant commissioner has asked me to sit on. We meet every 4 O' clock everyday to try make a determination on any new leads and to filter that to the community so that there is a re-assurance that the authorities are acting on any lead that come about."

For this community - they say it is important to get out their side of the story and restore their name as peaceful, law abiding persons, not so called savages:

Ligorio Coy - Chairman, Alcalde Associaiton
"If the law has evidence seeing that it has been done by the Mayan people well the law is there to tell us the truth. But if there is no evidence the Mayan people are saying that they are not the ones that were involve in the fire because I cannot be around all the people."

Jules Vasquez
"Were you out there on that Sunday?"

Ligorio Coy - Chairman, Alcalde Associaiton
"I was not out there on that Sunday."

Jules Vasquez
"How do you think the home got burnt?"

Ligorio Coy - Chairman, Alcalde Associaiton
"I have no idea because according to the investigation they are several people going thru that direction and according to the information from the people there is access also from the river. So we just can't say that someone came thru the road or water and when this thing has started; where was the police? Where were the BDF? As you can see here our people is very peaceful people when we tell them that we should be peaceful, they abide by our order and when I say that we should bring information where can lead us to find these children, let us get the authorities who is a apart of this investigation the truth and the facts of where we can locate the children."

Gregory Choc, SATIIM
"Some of them have come forward and say that we don't like what have been said about us and we are a peaceful people despite the injustices that continues to be committed against us. We seek peaceful non-violence resolution for those differences that we may have. So I think there are some members of the community who also wants to make a statement respect to what have been said by Mr. Rose."

Jules Vasquez
"He call them savages. Very unfortunate language and that perspective is getting rapture in the international news media. The story is on CNN. How do you mitigate the effects of that? How do you content with that?"

Gregory Choc, SATIIM
"Well we will continue imploring the strategies that we have consistently used. We look at the indigenous people struggle globally, it's no surprise for terms that have been use to characterized the communities whose children get lost but I don't know the gentleman. I refuse to go into personal attacks."

Jules Vasquez
"Were you insulted?"

Gregory Choc, SATIIM
"You know I don't know how much more insult we can take because we've been insulted over and over."

For the family of 8 - the disappearance of these two children is too much and their mother was overwhelmed - even as they remain hopeful:

Missing Children's Father
"For right now, according to the police Mr. Mariano, he says not to worry. He think that they are alive and that's is where I am. I still have the hope that they are alive. I my own mind I don't think so. If those children are here maybe they are out in the country that is what I think."

The gathering started at 9:00 and finished at 11:30.

We thank our friends at PG TV for their critical assistance with the story.

Channel 7

#387394 - 09/09/10 09:29 AM Re: Missing children [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Two children missing in Toledo! - Oracle’s Vision Sparks Desperate Act near PG

A series of extremely unfortunate events was capped off with a Sunday morning fire in the Water Hole Area outside of Punta Gorda. It all started when two children were reported missing at the Punta Gorda Police Station on Monday, August 30. The father said that he sent his two children, 11-year-old Benjamin Rash and 9-year-old Onelia Rash, from their home in San Marcos Village to sell lime and craboo in Punta Gorda Town.

When the children failed to return home, he became worried and reported the matter to police. The police then led a search to find the missing children but four days passed and their efforts were fruitless. According to Police Press Officer Fitzroy Yearwood, the department intensified the search on Friday, September 3, by sending a team of 50 police recruits to join the Toledo police officers and other volunteers. So far they have been unable to locate the children.

That is the first unfortunate event. Since the search effort has not led to the discovery of the children, the villagers turned to a more cultural solution. They consulted an oracle or spiritual advisor to seek divine intervention. According to reports, the oracle told them that the children were being held against their will by Vince and Cherie Rose on the compound of the American Crocodile Education Sanctuary (ACES) in the Water Hole Area outside of Punta Gorda. ACES boasts a commitment to conserving Belize's critical habitats and protected species through scientific research and education to prevent further extinction of crocodiles worldwide and to preserve Belize's wildlife for future generations. The villagers relayed that information to the police on September 2 and a search was conducted on the property. The children were not found on the premises, but the search left the villagers dissatisfied.

The villagers’ firm belief in their oracle’s vision and their dissatisfaction with the police investigation led to the next unfortunate event. On Sunday, September 5, a large group of villagers went in front of the Punta Gorda Police Station to demand that they conduct another search on the Rose’s home. When the police did not meet their demand they marched to the compound and set fire to the couple’s two story home that included a laboratory and nursery for baby crocs. Everything that the couple spent six years to build was destroyed. Also destroyed by the fire were two cabañas where visiting guests and research students would stay.

The damages are estimated at over $1 million and the property was not insured. It was a crushing blow from a most desperate act, and the shock led Vince Rose to commit the third unfortunate act in the series. His rhetoric in an interview with 7 News was harmful at best. Vince Rose said,“It's just unacceptable that a pre-meditated group of savages - and they are not human beings, they are savages - they should not even be out on the streets; they should all be in prison because they are not human beings.”- Vince Rose Insert, 7 News Belize.

There is no doubt that Mr. Rose and his wife suffered severely from the senseless act- an unacceptable act; however, it is counterproductive to use such divisive rhetoric in a situation charged by misinformation, misunderstanding and ignorance. What’s going on in Toledo is inhumane on many fronts and embarrassing for the country of Belize.

In a release, Cherie Rose said, “We are not sure how to handle the situation, but the villagers and the country of Belize need to be held accountable.” While the Roses might feel like this is the time for retribution, it is important to remember that two children are still missing. Priority number one is to find young Benjamin and Onelia. Priority number two is to build a network of support for Cherie and Vince who have lost their life’s work in the unfortunate incident. Those responsible for the act must be held responsible. Though Mr. Rose’s comments were unjustifiable, destroying people’s property and lives based on the advice of a religious leader is indeed an unacceptable act.

The Guardian

#387519 - 09/10/10 09:32 AM Re: Missing children [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

K-9 Unit Joins The Search For The Rash Children

Today completed ten days that 11 year old Benjamin and 9 year old Onelia Rash have been missing - and still there are no clues about their whereabouts.

Police have deployed 100 of their personnel on the ground looking for them, but they need all the help they can get. So now, the Police have called in the service of a K-9 expert. Joshua Trapp is a certified K-9 instructor that has worked with local law enforcement officials, including the Belize Defense Force. Trapp along with two trained canines left for Toledo today to try and sniff out the whereabouts of the missing children. Jim McFadzean caught up with Trapp before he left for Punta Gorda and he spoke about the advantages of introducing the trained dogs into the search.:…

Jim McFadzean
"No one seems to know where the kids have gone, where they have ended up. They seem to have disappeared into thin air and neither the police, the community at large or the parents know where the kids are. Where do you start with little or no information on the disappearances of these kids?"

Joshua Trapp, K-9 instructor
"Well the first place to start Jim is where exactly they last saw the kids. From there we will inquire little bit and then we will have the dogs tracking dogs to maybe backtrack and get some scent from the kids and from there we go on."

Jim McFadzean
"What are these dogs are able to do that the humans have not been able to do so far?"

Joshua Trapp, K-9 instructor
"Well, sometimes when you are tracking or looking for someone or something and it's a lot of you and there is a lot of noise you cannot listen to hear if you hear anyone shouting or stuff like that so the dogs have very good nose that can smell better than us and they could see better than us. So we will try to bring in the dogs and make sure that we cover a little bit more of what the police have covered so far."

The children were last seen near Cattle Landing just outside Punta Gorda on the afternoon of Monday august 30th. They had been to the market selling fruits. It would have been their last day selling because school was about to begin.Channel 7

#387787 - 09/14/10 09:53 AM Re: Missing children [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline


Thirteen days after they disappeared, the search continues for San Marcus village residents Benjamin and Onelia Rash. As our Toledo Correspondent Paul Mahung reports, Guatemala police are also assisting in the search on their side of the border.

Paul Mahung Reporting…

As the search for eleven year old Benjamin and nine year old Onelia Rash continues police here in Punta Gorda have contacted their counterparts in Guatemala to assist in looking for the missing siblings. Officer Commanding Toledo Police Formation Senior Superintendent Robert Mariano says that at his weekend meeting with his counterparts from across the border a commitment was made to assist in the search.

Senior Superintendent Robert Mariano; Officer Commanding Toledo Police

“The Guatemalan counterparts came to Belize the meeting was conducted at Halacte Village Police Station, the Commissionado De La Cruz did present; also present at the meeting was Major Requena from the BDF and also Mr. Rash the father of the children. They mentioned to me that they photocopied the missing person posters for both children and they have placed it on every taxi in their area that travels from there all the way to Peten. They mentioned to us that they are still on the lookout for these children; they have not found them so far. We had agreed to have another meeting on October 10.”

The officers agreed to meet regularly until the children are located. On the Love FM Morning Show today it was suggested that the crocodiles at the former Aces Facility be tested fro traces of human DNA. Senior Superintendent Mariano says the case is being looked at from all angles.

Senior Superintendent Robert Mariano

“We had some tracking dogs that are in this district and the police took the children’s clothing and went in the area with the tracking dogs to see if the children were ever at that farm. The dog did not find the children’s scent in that area. At this time we do not have enough evidence to go into that, to cut those animals to see if they ate any human beings.”

On Saturday a prayer march and mass was held to pray for the safe return of the Rash children. The event was attended by hundreds of residents of Mayan Villages in the Toledo District.

Senior Superintendent Robert Mariano

“The family is getting a lot of assistance, again the police, the BDF and all the villagers in the Toledo District have agreed to join together and search for these children.”


#388085 - 09/18/10 12:04 PM Re: Missing children [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
Search goes on for missing San Marcos children. Melchor lawmen have now joined the search

The two-week-old search for the missing children Onelia and Benjamin Rash, from the village of San Marcos, Toledo has extended into Guatemala to Poptún, and Santa Cruz.

Posters of Onelia and Benjamin have been posted on every bus and taxi of the Mayan communities and neighbouring villagers are on alert.

Onelia and Benjamin disappeared while selling craboo and limes for their parents. They were last seen in Cattle Landing, but it is not believed that they ever reached Punta Gorda, the municipal capital, which is about three miles away.

The story of the missing children has rocked Belize and the police in the south have been on full alert.

The officer commanding the Toledo Police Department, Robert Mariano, along with Mr. Pedro Rash, the father of the missing children and Major Requeña of the BDF, have met for the second time with Sr. Trinidad de laCruz, the Comicionado and law enforcement authorites of Santa Cruz, Guatemala. The meeting, held at the Jalacté Police Station, was to co-ordinate search efforts on both sides of the border.

According to Mariano, Comicionado Cruz expressed his wholehearted support and assistance in the search for the children. Guatemalan police are also actively involved in the search from their side of the border.

The first meeting between Guatemelan and Belizean police officers was held on September 4th.Since then the Guatemalan police have been actively involved.

Mariano explained that there is an established agreement between the two police authorities to exchange information on any criminal activity that involves either country.

The disappearance of the two kids has caused some adults from theVillage of San Marcos to go beserk. A group of villagers visited the crocodile sanctuary owned by Americans Vincent and Cherie Rose and burned it to the ground. The also used their machetes to slaughter as many crocodiles as they could find. The Roses were holding seventeen crocodiles in pens at the time of the attack.

Reports from Toledo are now saying that the villagers approached the Roses and asked for permission to inspect the crocodile sanctuary. This request was refused.

Next the village elders went to the police and asked Inspector Robert Mariano to carry out a search. Mariao declined on the ground that there was no evidence to justify such an inspection.
At this the vagers took matters into their own hands, waited until the Roses were absent from their home, and proceeded to burn the place down.

The Reporter

#388760 - 09/29/10 09:53 AM Re: Missing children [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Rash kids still missing

Benjamin & Oneila Rash

Siblings Onelia and Benjamin Rash disappeared without a trace almost a month ago on Monday, August thirtieth while on a routine trip to Punta Gorda Town and its nearby communities selling limes and craboos. The children, ages nine and eleven respectively, left their home village of San Marcos that morning in the company of their uncle Domingo Rash who disembarked Coc’s bus in nearby Cattle Landing Village a few minutes later. According to Rash the last time he saw his niece and nephew was at three-forty-five that afternoon when they were making their rounds in that vicinity. Since then the children have been missing and despite a massive search party deployed to the area a few days later all attempts to locate them have been futile. Efforts to locate the missing siblings have subsequently waned and authorities are no closer to finding them now than when they first began looking twenty-seven days ago. In the wake of their disappearance the home and life investment of US Nationals Cherie and Vincent Rose was torched by angry villagers who acted on their suspicion that Benjamin and Onelia were abducted and used to feed crocodiles on the couple’s American Crocodile Education Sanctuary. A local fortune teller was later arrested and charged with false pretense after wrongly predicting that the children were on the premises. In the weeks that followed, Punta Gorda Police held numerous meetings with their counterparts in neighboring Guatemala and issued international bulletins for the missing children but so far have not been able to locate them dead or alive. Another meeting between both authorities is scheduled for October tenth.

Channel 5

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