Police Have Suspect; Recover Vehicle And while an elected representative stepping down is a first - so is our other top story tonight: the murder of a diplomat. The Panamanian Charge d' Affairs was found murdered in the greater Belmopan area on Sunday afternoon. There is major breaking news concerning that killing tonight, but we start at the murder scene today:..
Jules Vasquez reporting
This is the road off the Hummingbird Highway across from La Cabana where Jose Rodriga De la Rosa's body was found. It is known as West Belmopan - and the road is called La Choza after the Bar that used to be a popular watering hole - it has now closed down.
This is what the police came down yesterday afternoon - after receiving a call from a man who lives in the area - and found the body here - dumped down a hole in the bush. The grass looks like it was freshly mashed down.
Bloodstains are everywhere and somewhere likely left by the killer or killers.
The diplomat appeared to have had his neck slit; he also had cut wounds to his head.
Additionally, his white Nissan SUV with diplomatic plates had been stolen.
This morning police combed the area for the third time - an indication of the level of seriousness with which they are treating the investigation.
So far, police believe that De La Rosa was killed and then dumped here.
The area is about a mile from the Hummingbird Highway near a quarry.
But police suspect that the killer may have been familiar with the area.
The rutted road is not for novices, and assuming it was dumped here at night when it is pitch dark - it would be a challenge to navigate.
Because it is a diplomat, the murder is considered super sensitive and neither police nor the Ministry of Foreign Affairs wanted to comment today.
But as we said there is major breaking news: first 7News has learned that a single key suspect is in the custody of Belmopan police. The two important things about him is that, first: he is from the Belmopan area and two, he was not a stranger to the diplomat.
The second point is important because the murder has concerned other embassies in Belize - who are concerned that diplomats are being targeted. Police are hoping to establish that it was an isolated event - and one based on familiarity.
And now the very latest reports say that police have recovered the diplomat's vehicle which was stolen.
More on this tomorrow.
Panamanian diplomat murdered in Belmopan
Belmopan police are presently attempting to unravel the circumstances surrounding the shocking death of the Charge d’ Affaires of the Panamanian Embassy in Belize whose lifeless body was reportedly found, with cut wounds to the neck and head, at about 4:00 p.m. yesterday, November 23, in the western part of Belize’s capital, Belmopan.
Today, police reported that the mutilated body of Jose Rodrigo De La Rosa Stanford, 64, was discovered about ¾ mile from the La Chosa area, and sometime this evening, his vehicle, a white Nissan with diplomatic license plates, which had been stolen, was recovered by police.
While authorities have launched an investigation into the apparent homicide, details of the events leading up to the grisly death of De La Rosa Stanford remain unknown, and while we have confirmed that an associate of De La Rosa is currently detained and being interrogated by police, it is still unclear whether was De La Rosa killed in the area where his body was found, or if he was killed elsewhere and his body left in the area near La Chosa, where it was found by police on Sunday evening.
La Chosa is a recreational area, bar and restaurant located west of Belmopan, and is popular with local residents and expatriates.
Unconfirmed reports reaching Amandala are that the Panamanian diplomat left his home at around 9:00 on Sunday morning, seven hours before he was found at around 4:00 p.m. that same day.
Amandala understands that the Government of Panama has confirmed the murder of the diplomat in Belize and consequently issued a press release today, which was published in Panamanian newspapers.
The release from the Foreign Ministry of Panama indicated that condolences have been sent to the family and loved ones of His Excellency José Rodrigo De La Rosa following his untimely death, adding that “Mr. De La Rosa was the victim of an alleged murder on the outskirts of the City of Belmopan, Belize.”
“De La Rosa was a career diplomat and served as Chargé d’ Affaires at the Embassy of Panama in Belize. The President of the Republic [of Panama] has made available the presidential plane so the family of the diplomat can travel to Belize and return his body to Panama as soon as possible”, it went on to state.
The release concluded by mentioning that “the Government of Panama will send an official delegation, composed of a diplomatic representative and a judicial officer, to assist in clarifying the circumstances surrounding this crime.”
Belize’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has informed us that they will issue an official press release on the unfortunate incident after the autopsy has been performed.