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#17976 - 03/30/04 11:01 PM re: any word on U.S. woman murdered near gales point?  
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 88
gogo Offline
gogo  Offline
hi all---

i was reading the lonely planet forums and came across this article. the story is really creepy and i wonder if anyone has heard of further developments in the case since this was posted on the thorn tree 'round march 16.


Posted: 16 Mar,
10:15am   (NEW!)
3/16 Albuquerque Journal: Murder in Belize      Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Taos-Area Woman Killed in Belize

By Jeremy Pawloski
Journal Staff Writer

Jovonna Poe loved to spend time in Belize, often taking tourists on "ecotours" of a coastal area where she owned property.
Now Belize police are searching for her killer.
The body of the 57-year-old Taos-area woman was found March 2 floating in a lagoon.
Her death near Gales Point Village in Belize is being investigated as a homicide, a spokesman with the Belize Police Department said.
Her nude body was found wrapped in a bedsheet and tied up in rope that had been anchored to a cement block about 50 yards from shore, said G. Michael Reid, the police spokesman.
Friends in Taos say Poe loved Belize and its wildlife but was concerned about a man who watched her property there. She had learned karate to protect herself.
Reid said Poe was last seen alive paddling a kayak in the area on Feb. 26.
Police are focusing on a 31-year-old man who helped run a bed and breakfast near Poe's home, Reid said.
The man, Francisco Perez, is the "primary suspect" in Poe's homicide, Reid said.
Paul Gutches, who was a friend of Poe's and shared office space with her in Taos, said he was concerned when Poe did not return home from Belize in early March as had been scheduled.
Gutches said Poe visited Belize to take tourists on "ecotours" of the country's wildlife, including a jaguar preserve.
Gutches said Poe left for her most recent visit to the Central American country around the middle of February.
"She was excited," he said. "She just loved the wildlife."
Poe, who lived in Carson just outside Taos, had been director of education at LaPlaza Telecommunity in Taos until it went out of business last year.
LaPlaza Telecommunity was a company that helped educate local residents about computers and the Internet.
Poe had been operating her own computer-training company, one2one, in Taos before she died. Gutches said he had been working side by side with Poe for about the past 10 months, renting office space from her for his Web site development business.
Poe owned a property in Belize that is near the bed and breakfast, and an individual who runs the bed and breakfast apparently had stayed in Poe's home and looked after it while she was away, Reid said.
Reid said it is his understanding that Francisco Perez was out of jail on bail around the same time that Poe disappeared from the Dangriga area. Perez was in jail on an accusation of rape, he said.
Perez and two of his relatives, Leon Perez, 25, and Mariano Perez, 75, were detained for questioning after Poe's body was found, but they had to be released after 48 hours, Reid said.
Police do not have enough evidence to formally charge anyone with Poe's homicide, Reid added.
Police are "looking at the whole family," Reid said.
Reid said he "is not at liberty to discuss" evidence in the case.
However, he did say there were no signs of violence in her house.
A post-mortem examination of Poe's body by a local doctor did not determine the cause of death, Reid said. Poe's body was badly decomposed, and medical staff in Belize do not have advanced technology to assist in such an investigation, Reid added.
The Central American country of Belize— bordered by Mexico and Guatemala— is known for its beautiful ocean coasts and Mayan ruins.
On Monday, Reid conceded that Belize does have its share of homicides. However, he added that the area where Poe lived is relatively safe.
Reid said police want to solve Poe's homicide quickly, so that tourists from the United States aren't afraid to visit. The country relies on tourism as a major source of income, he said.
Gutches said Poe had recently told him she was "concerned" about a man who watched her property in Belize while she was away. The man was "very controlling" and "wasn't very comfortable with women who were independent like Jovonna was," Gutches said, relating his past conversations with Poe.
Gutches said Poe told him that the man was under some sort of a delusion that he had a relationship with her, and that he had served time in the past for killing a woman.
Poe had taken karate classes and bought a metal walking stick to help her protect herself in Belize, Gutches said.
Poe, who was originally from Indiana, was "not a threat to anybody, just minding her own business and doing her own thing," Gutches said.
Ray Vollmer, a friend of Poe's from Taos, choked back tears when he was asked about her. He called Poe a "gentle soul."
"She was a lover of nature and animals, that's why she liked it so much down there," he said. "Just a caring person, and (she) really liked to help people out."
Poe had lived in the Taos area for about nine years, Vollmer said.
Freelance reporter Kathryn Holzka contributed to this story.

Copyright 2004 Albuquerque Journal

#17977 - 03/30/04 11:13 PM Re: re: any word on U.S. woman murdered near gales point?  
Joined: May 2000
Posts: 3,280
Barbara K Offline
Barbara K  Offline
I haven't heard anything else but I knew her when I lived in Taos and arranged several of her trips. So sad.

#17978 - 03/31/04 10:45 AM Re: re: any word on U.S. woman murdered near gales point?  
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,430
Katie Valk Offline
Katie Valk  Offline
Evidence points to man a who lives on the property next to hers, think the name is Perez, who she had been having big problems with beforehand.

Belize based travel specialist
#17979 - 03/31/04 11:19 AM Re: re: any word on U.S. woman murdered near gales point?  
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 88
gogo Offline
gogo  Offline
yes, according to this article, the neighbor, perez, is the most likely suspect. it looks/seems like she was murdered, yet cause of death cannot even be determined. seems like it would take an eyewitness and/or a confession to lead to an actual arrest in this case. so much evidence relies on forensics these days and if the technology is not available to process that evidence (if its still there after a length of time floating in water) then conviction is not likely. the part that gave me the shivers was that this guy has done time for killing another woman. i am not for capital punishment at all, but it IS my opinion that murderers, rapists and child molesters should spend life in prison for their crimes. once you prove you are a human predator, your license to live in society should be revoked. in the U.S. if we let out all the people incarcerated for marijuana charges as part of the "war on drugs" and used jail space for people who commit crimes against humanity, we'd see societal changes distinctly for the better. it'd work that way in belize too.

barbara---if you have any contact with this woman's family or friends, please extend my stranger's condolences. this is indeed a sad, sad story, and it seems like it will end just like this, with a two-time murderer getting away with it.

#17980 - 03/31/04 12:11 PM Re: re: any word on U.S. woman murdered near gales point?  
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 645
Now Danny Offline
Now Danny  Offline
You go, GoGo

#17981 - 03/31/04 12:29 PM Re: re: any word on U.S. woman murdered near gales point?  
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 24
Spicolicpa Offline
Spicolicpa  Offline
Dont know the law down in Belize but the concept of three strikes has failed miserably in California. One stike at a child or woman should be the end of that persons ball game.....

Peace, waves, solitude on a budget
#17982 - 05/26/04 04:10 PM Re: re: any word on U.S. woman murdered near gales point?  
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 88
gogo Offline
gogo  Offline
hi all--

has anyone heard anything more about this case? have there been any arrest(s)?


#17983 - 05/26/04 08:03 PM Re: re: any word on U.S. woman murdered near gales point?  
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,430
Katie Valk Offline
Katie Valk  Offline
Last I heard a few weeks ago from the US Embassy, they were bringing down FBI forensics. Not sure what happened since, but will ask again.

Belize based travel specialist
#17984 - 05/27/04 10:34 AM Re: re: any word on U.S. woman murdered near gales point?  
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 233
Jack and Rose Offline
Jack and Rose  Offline
Food for thought: If they had Capital Punishment,she would still be alive. End of story!

#17985 - 05/27/04 12:29 PM Re: re: any word on U.S. woman murdered near gales point?  
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 201
KWIBMF Offline
KWIBMF  Offline
I hear ya J & R, there hasn't been a single murder in Texas as long as I can remember.

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