Young Honduran mother of three violently murdered on Ambergris Caye
Police on Ambergris Caye are asking for the public’s assistance to help solve the murder of 22-year-old Silvia Carmen Benitez. The Honduran national, who was reported missing on Thursday January 15th, was an exotic dancer at an establishment in the San Pedrito Area of San Pedro Town. Almost 48 hours later, her partially nude body was discovered in an uninhabited area about 3 ½ miles north of San Pedro Town.
Benitez was reported missing by one of her friends, 36-year-old Danilo Alvarenga of Belmopan City. Alvarenga told The San Pedro Sun that he became concerned after he learned from other friends that they had not seen or heard of Benitez since Tuesday January 13th. According to the owner of the establishment where Benites worked, the young lady was seen by one of his workmen on a golf cart with a male person sometime around 4:30AM on Tuesday January 13th. A police report indicated that Benitez, well known as “Mauw” was seen around 4AM that same day, on a bench with an alcoholic beverage and in the company of four men.
It is uncertain what happen thereafter, but according to Officer in Charge of the Police Coastal Executive Unit Superintendent of Police Luis Castellanos, following the missing report, police began searching for the missing female. Flyers were placed in various areas, but sometime around 11:30AM on Saturday January 17th, police responded to a report of a body found in the Mata Grande Area of the island. “We visited the location and found the decomposed body of a female. The body was retrieved and we were able to identify the body because it had some tattoos and based on that we confirmed, it was the same young lady that was reported missing.” The female was found by two men who were in the area who detected a high stench and decided to investigate. The two men stumbled across the dead female about 15 feet away off the dirt road behind some bushes. “She was found in a shallow mud pond that had some water. She was found face down, in an advanced state of decomposition.”
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Honduran Woman Murdered in San Pedro
Silvia Carmen Benitez
According to the murder stats for 2014, San Pedro has quickly become a most dangerous town. The island accounted for the second highest amount of murders last year. On Saturday around noon, murder victim number was found. The body of a Honduran woman, who had been missing for four days, was discovered north of San Pedro Town. Twenty-two year old Silvia Carmen Benitez, a mother of three children was brutally killed. She had multiple injuries on her body and may have been sexually violated. News Five’s Duane Moody was in San Pedro today and has this story.
Duane Moody, Reporting
San Pedro recorded its first murder for 2015 over the weekend. Approximately three and a half miles north of the town in the Grand Belize Estate area, the decomposing, partially nude body of twenty-two Silvia Carmen Benitez, was discovered behind some mangroves. Passersby came upon the corpse just before noon on Saturday; Benitez’s body was identified by her tattoos. It is believed that she was killed elsewhere and her body dumped at the scene.
Supt. Luis Castellanos, O.C., Coastal Executive Unit
“When we found the body, she was in a pond—shallow, muddy water. She was face down in an advance state of decomposition. When the forensic doctor….because of the advance state of decomposition, we had to do a post mortem on the site. Doctor Ken and Doctor Blanco came from Belize City and after retrieving the body and cleaning the body, we saw what we would call restraining marks. When I say restraining marks; she had signs of bruises on her neck, on both arms, her legs, on her back, on her feet. She also had a blunt injury to the face. That’s why we suspect it is foul play and we are investigating the case.”
“At this time can you say whether police investigation is leading you to believe that she was murdered there or just disposed of in that area?’’
Supt. Luis Castellanos
“Jorge from looking at the crime scene, we can only speculate that because of the way the crime scene was, the shrubs there was no signs of any struggle in the area. So we speculate that she was murdered elsewhere and just left at this location where she was found.”
Just two days prior to the discovery of her body, Benitez was reported missing by her closest friend, Danilo Alvarenga, who traveled from Belmopan to San Pedro after she was not responding to his calls and text messages.
Danilo Alvarenga, Friend of Murder Victim
“I was calling her on Sunday and Monday and she wasn’t answering her phone. And I called her friend that she was living with and I asked her if she knew anything about Silvia, why she wasn’t answering her phone and if she was mad with me. She told me that Silvia was drunk on Sunday and wanted to go to the dance and they didn’t want to go and they told her to sleep cause she was too drunk. That’s the last time they heard about her and so they called me and told me if I could please go to San Pedro police to do a missing report cause they are immigrants and they are afraid to go to the station.”
Supt. Luis Castellanos
“What we have so far and we are trying to confirm it, it is still under investigation, is that she was last seen where she worked—she was employed at Captain Iguana in San Pedrito Area and she was last seen at midnight on Monday. Thereafter, she was seen with somebody. We are still trying to verify who is that person and so we haven’t gotten any information that she was along with a group of persons.”
Benitez, a Honduran national, has been living in Belize for approximately two years; she relocated to the island last year. While robbery has been ruled out, it is speculated that Benitez was sexual assaulted before her life was viciously taken. The motive, however, behind the killing of the young mother of is unknown.
Supt. Luis Castellanos
“Because of the advance state of decomposition, the doctor stated that it would be hard for us to determine whether she was sexual molested. However, again we have to speculate, because of the location of the bruises on her leg and like they were restraining and when I say I mean like someone was opening or like a struggle with opening the legs, we can only speculate that maybe she may have been raped. But like I said, we cannot confirm forensic wise.”
Benitez has three children; two living in Honduras and one in Mango Creek in southern Belize. Due to the state of decomposition, she was buried on site. Duane Moody for News Five.
Anyone with information on this recent homicide is asked to contact the nearest police station and or to contact crime stoppers Belize at 0-800-922-TIPS.