Copper Bank Kidnapping Still A Mystery

On last night’s news we had excerpts of our very late interview with Superintendent Andrew Ramirez about the Kidnapping of the Copper Bank Family in Corozal which happened on Monday night.

We’ve since had a bit more time to prepare it, and Daniel Ortiz revisits the elements of this very frightening but compelling incident. Here’s his story:

Daniel Ortiz Reporting

32 year-old Eduardo Nah, his common-law wife, 25 year-old Roxanie Cruz, and 24 year-old Sabino Nah, and the rest of the family were escorted from their Copperbank home to the Corozal Community Hospital today, to ensure that they were in good health.

We’re told they had a few minor injuries. Them being alive is a turn in good fortune.

Supt. Andrew Ramirez - OC, Corozal Police District
"I am glad to have these 2 individuals alive. The primary function of the police department is protection of life and property."

Last night 4 armed hispanic men abducted the Nah brothers’ and Eduardo’s wife’s at gunpoint.

It happened here at the family’s home last night just before 8 o’clock. The 3 victims had just arrived on their property when they were immediately ambushed by the men, who wasted no time in asserting authority and dominance over them. Edwardo was struck in the head with the butt of a black rifle, and then ordered to lie flat on the ground, where he was handcuffed. One of the men stood over him.

Supt. Andrew Ramirez
"4 masked individuals run into the compound armed with firearms. The description that was given to us was that these individuals were of clear complexion speaking Spanish language. The Spanish language would be those consisting of Belizean Spanish."

All of this happened with the family’s security surveillance cameras in full view, but the gunmen were determined in their attack.

The other 3 men forced Eduardo and Roxanie to enter their house.

Supt. Andrew Ramirez
"He along with his common-law-wife were placed inside their home where the assailants ransacked a room or two. They were subsequently placed in their 4Runner."

Sabino's unwanted security guard was distracted momentarily, he took the opportunity to escape.
Sabino went alerting his neighborhood asking for help, and when he returned shortly after, the 4 men had already left with Roxanie and Eduardo, they had left in the vehicle 3 victims had arrived in. Police searched the Corozal and Orange Walk Districts for the entire night, but they couldn’t find the abducted couple or any of the 4 men.

Supt. Andrew Ramirez
"Response from the Corozal and Orange Walk Police was to cordon off the entire area of the northern districts, especially the ferry areas. We did extensive searches amongst the villages of Sarteneja, San Estevan, and Progresso. About 12 a.m., Eduardo Nah arrived with his common-law wife, Roxannie, where he was met by a team of police officers assigned to the residence, waiting for the investigation

The next morning, they 2 hostages miraculously returned home in their vehicle, mostly unharmed but visibly shaken.

Eduardo told investigators that after the men abducted them, they were driven in their own vehicle to a cane field outside of San Estevan Village.

Supt. Andrew Ramirez
"They ended up stopping in a cane field between the Progresso and San Estevan villages where he was interrogated concerning the whereabouts of some drugs, cocaine. He denied having knowledge of such substance. However he was relieve of what he reported to us as $15,000 cash. A demand was made to him for an additional sum of money in the near future. That date we have not yet gotten from him, but what we have at this point in time."

Eduardo said that he handed over $15,000 in cash to the men, and that’s how their captors released them. One of the men stole his cellular phone, gave him a chip, and told him that he would receive further instructions for more money.
But how did the couple have such a large quantum of money simply lying around to hand over at such short notice?

Supt. Andrew Ramirez
"They have indicated through the initial interview that Eduardo had recently sold a land and why he kept that amount at his house, I do not know. But that was his explanation as to why the quantum of money."

The men then left them in the cane field, to wait until they had left the area, and that's when the two hostages were released. Today, the family, traumatized by the entire incident, told us that they would rather not comment to the media. The investigators believe that the abductors conducted extensive surveillance on the Nah family.

Supt. Andrew Ramirez
"We must be mindful that especially in kidnapping, it needs a lot of studying of the target. It's not a one-day shop center. It takes time, many days or months, sometime weeks. But, as to how our why Mr. Eduardo ended up reaching safely back to his house - with a few injuries of course, it is your guess, just like mine." 

Just before News time tonight, 7News spoke with Superintendent Ramirez, who told us that there are currently no new developments in the case. He says that they are in the process of interviewing individuals, but no strong leads have emerged.

This is the second kidnapping for this month so far, the first one, viewers may remember, happened at the Parrot’s Nest Lodge off Bullet Tree where American Tourists Kathen and Manisha Kotay were abducted 3 weeks ago. They were recovered unharmed after a quick response from the community and law enforcement. Those captors demanded $75,000, but they were thwarted before any money handed over.

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