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Suspect May Have Committed 2 Homicides In 2 Days

Tonight, residents of San Ignacio are again in a state of shock - as another female has been killed in their community.

UB student Suzenne Martinez was found dead this morning - thrown in a drain on the same street where her family lives.

The murder is disturbing, but there is more, a chilling twist: the main suspect in her killing is also emerging as a suspect on the Monday morning murder of Robert Lewis in Belmopan.

It's a connection that has raised eyebrows even in the Police Department and Jules Vasquez has the story from San Ignacio:

Jules Vasquez Reporting

The body 20 year old Suzenne Martinez was found here in this overgrown abandoned lot on 18th street in San Ignacio.

Her body had been thrown in this drain - and she was left there face up.

The chilling part is that her family home is on that same street - about five hundred feet away.

She was found dead at 6:10 am - that's around when her brother Jamid usually goes to work. He knew his sister had been reported missing the night before - and he approached the scene with trepidation.

Jamid Martinez - Suzenne's Brother
"Well, this morning 6:30, as I was looking to go to work, I saw police far up the street by the corner. I got that bad feeling that it was my sister. When I got there, they didn't want me to see her, and I told them that I knew that there was something that they found, and I wanted to know if it was my sister. So now, they asked me if I was sure, and I told them that I was. They told me that they found a female's body, and I begged them that if it was her to allow me to see, and I wouldn't touch her. When I looked better, I saw her; it was her."

And nothing could have prepared him for the condition he saw her in:

Jamid Martinez
"She was partially naked, and she never had on any pants, only underwear. Her blouse was up; the upper part of her body was showing, and a lot of liquid was coming out of her nose, like they were choking her. So, as I saw her, I recognized her. They killed her, and they probably raped too. She had a lot of bruises on her body, which were visible especially because of her complexion - all on her legs."

Those who live nearby said they didn't hear anything unusual last night.

But her parents knew something was wrong when Suzenne didn't get home as usual at 8:30 and when she didn't answer her phone, the worrying began - they made a missing persons report at midnight and six hours later she was found dead:

Jamid Martinez
"Whoever did this to my sister, that's not fair. That's really not fair, to take an innocent girl's life. Look at what happened to Jasmin Lowe; they haven't even done anything about that, and now my little sister, it can't happen. I just want them to find out who did this."

And police have made compelling progress - with impressive swiftness:

Superintendent Ralph Moody - Officer Commanding San Ignacio Police
"We have one male person detained, who is a suspect in this case. I must say also that we believe that this person is of interest concerning the murder in Belmopan."

He's talking about the murder that happened here at Robert Lewis's home in the Maya Mopan area of Belmopan, an incredible connection that would suggest a madman on a killing spree - two homicides in two days.

And it's not just a casual connection, police found this suspect - who is from the Maya Mopan area of Belmopan - with concrete evidence at a family member's home in San Ignacio.

Superintendent Ralph Moody
"We recovered several pieces of jewelry, and we have prints matching the prints in that area along with the female."

Police believe it was a random attack and robbery.

Marion Ali - Love News
"So, was this a random attack and robbery?"

Superintendent Ralph Moody
"I believe so."

Marion Ali
"Was she also sexually assaulted?"

Superintendent Ralph Moody
"I cannot say so; what I can say is that her pants were below her knee, and part of her blouse was pulled up. Her underwear, to me, it looked to be intact. There is no sign of bruising on her body - no signs of marks - with the exception of one foot print that matches the suspect's boots. That print on the female was over her private area, over her legs."

Jules Vasquez
"Are you able to say if this person had access to a vehicle, or might it have happened right around that location."

Superintendent Ralph Moody
"Our investigation is not revealing that there were any vehicles involved at this present moment."

And while the police wheels turn rather quickly - just so at the family's home on 18th. street, the machinery of mourning and loss has kicked in.

Just hours after she was found dead, her father Hamid - a public health inspector for 22 years and her brother, Jamid, were putting up tents outside the home for the wake - and her family and friends only have a memory of a future now forever lost for a girl everyone called Purple:

Sheree Flores - Friend of Suzenne
"Purple, as we called her, she always had this smile on her face. Susenne was my best friend. She never made anything bring her down; nothing ever held her back. She was determined; she was always giving me motivation. Susenne was one of the best persons you could ever have a friend."

This is a picture of her having lunch at UB yesterday - Her face showing no indication of worry or trouble.

Sheree Flores
"Med lab was her passion. She had plans of going abroad, studying and furthering her career. That was it. Suzenne had her head on her shoulder; she knew what she wanted in life."

Jamid Martinez
"Her dream was to be involved in forensics. That was her dream; she loved science. I told her to push through and study. She never had any problem with anyone."

Miriam Ochaeta - Cousin of Deceased
"We never know where this kind of thing will hit. What can we do today; withdraw all our children who are UB students who go to school at night because we are fearful for their lives? That wouldn't be logical, realistic, or a sensible thing to do. We are traumatized."

Sheree Flores
"I have known Suzenne for quite some years now, and she isn't the type of person who has enemies. So, I wouldn't be able to tell you who would do this to her. Suzenne is a very calm person; she always tries to stay away from trouble. She was never out, never doing anything wrong. Suzenne was one of the most loving people; she was my best friend. It hurts a lot to know that this was done to somebody so innocent."

The case is now being jointly investigated by Belmopan and San Ignacio CIB since one person is the main suspect in both homicide cases.

So who is this person? Well we cannot release his name if and until he is charged. But we can confirm that the Maya Mopan resident was released on bail just last week Thursday. He had been charged for sexual assault - and according to reports - he has at least one other similar case pending for a rape and robbery on Belmopan in 2011.

His link to the two cases? Well, he was found at his sister's home in San Ignacio this morning with what is believed to be Suzenny's cell phone - but it had another chip. He was also found with other personal possessions of hers, but not her laptop computer which is still unaccounted for.

And he was found with other items - including jewelry - which are not for Suzenne and may be related to the Lewis murder in Belmopan. Presently, those are being examined to see if they are from the Lewis home.

It's a huge, developing story and we'll have more on it in tomorrow night's news.

In a footnote, which will either make you jump for joy or hand your head in weary dismay, San Ignacio police thanked the community for assistance in apprehending a suspect just 6 hours after the body was found. This was largely facilitated, we gather, by a private citizen who loaned police his full size SUV - since their vehicle was in Belmopan for an early morning operation.

Channel 7

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A Protest for Suzenne

The Jasmine Low protests in San Ignacio in June made history when the community came together and demanded justice. And more than justice, they wanted a lynching of her alleged killer, Bert Vasquez.

And today in San Ignacio, they came out for the latest murder victim, Suzenne Martinez - who was found murdered yesterday morning. That visceral rage was not there, but instead Jules Vasquez found a hardened resolve to demand that justice be done. Here's his story:...

Jules Vasquez reporting
Columbus Park, in the center of San Ignacio town was the sight of a hastily arranged impromptu protest to town meeting this afternoon.

The crowd was not as energized or as outraged as they were for Jasmine Lowe, but that is understandable because Suzenne Martinez was not missing for days like Jasmine; she disappeared one night, and was found dead the next morning.

Her friends, family and supporters still had a strong and clear message though; they want justice for Suzenne, and they want it swiftly.

Juliana Guerra, wants justice
"To our leaders, we are not asking anymore! we are demanding action now! When they are in the House of Representative fighting among each other's that who grab whatever, the criminals are organizing on a next prey."

"We are demanding our leaders to do something now! and if they cannot do it then let the people take action."

Marcel Bedran, CHMN - Cayo Neighborhood Watch Association
"This weekend that pass there were 7 murders in this country. We've jumped the 100th murder and we are just starting the month of October. Last year was 128, the year before was 132 - you tell me when will we draw the red line and so anything after this we need - drastic situation calls for drastic measures."

But it's bigger than Suzenne; it's about the community again venting its outrage about having their females being victimized, and really a community frightened by its own vulnerability.

Marcel Bedran
"This is about us coming out to support the Martinez family, the Jasmine Lowe family, the Roberts family - it's about us coming out and asking the hard question like I was just interviewed. Why are we afraid to talk about capital punishment when the whole country is talking about it. What are we afraid of talking about who are responsible for releasing a guy on bail into our society that has such a record."

Ernie Braun, Vice Chair - Cayo Neighborhood Watch Association
"This is not the first time we see somebody who is in police custody gets out on bail and as they are out on bail the commit offences again. Why is it so easy to get bail? Why do majority of these criminals walk free? Who is in charge here? "

All those big statements seemed to flight right with Suzenne's parents. They were right there in the center of the park, devastated by the lost - no doubt still in shock.

All they know right now is that their 20 year-old daughter was found 36 hours ago on the street she lived her entire life. And no mother how many arms embraced them, or how many lips kissed them, there is no bringing back their daughter.

They declined an on-camera interview, but they told us, "For 20 years, we learned to live with her. We don't know how to live without her. And while they grieve, the community agitates on their behalf.

Marcel Bedran
"Will these rallies and demonstration and candle light vigils - will this bring the necessary awareness to the relevant authorities that will say we've been doing things this way for so long and we are not seeing progress, are we now going to continue that way or are we going to say let's make some changes and see what that bring about. I think we need now to sit down and say what's the next step, we need to go to one level higher."

But before they get to that next level, there will have to be a conviction.

"We are going to make sure that when he is charged that he never ever gets out for what he has committed because it really hurts our society, it really hurts the parents of Suzenne and it really hurts all those friends and relatives who are out here - who are just thinking about their own daughters that are growing up not feeling safe. We can't have these predators preying on our daughters and preying on our young women."

And while they want a conviction - right now, they'll be lucky to get a charge. 7news has confirmed that the DPP has reviewed the file and found that there is insufficient evidence to charge the suspect for murder at this time.

The DPP will meet with the investigators tomorrow to instruct them on how to proceed in gathering sufficient evidence.

As for the suspect's connection to the murder in Belmopan - the DPP has not yet reviewed that file. We understand that the suspect was found with a cell phone containing a SIM card believed to have been stolen from Robert Lewis's home in Maya Mopan.

The suspect got out on bail last week Thursday where he had been remanded for a case of rape and robbery, which allegedly happened in Belmopan in March of 2011.

Channel 7

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Salvapan Resident Investigated For Double Murder In The Cayo District

In last night's newscast we brought to you the gruesome murder of twenty year old UB student Suzenne Martinez of San Ignacio Town. Martinez' body was found in a drain not more than 500 feet from her house at about 6:30 in the morning of October 3rd.

Suzenne Martinez was attending classes at the University of Belize's Belmopan Campus in a Science field and was last seen with her friends eating at a Chinese Restaurant in Belmopan. Pictures posted on the popular social network Facebook, show Martinez eating Chow Mein with three of her classmates and friends. Suzenne's parents became concerned when she failed to arrive home at her usual time and made a missing persons report that same night minutes to midnight.

Suzenne's body was discovered by a passerby who then called it into the police. Her twenty-three year old brother Jamid Martinez was on his way to work when he noticed the police and several persons down the street from his home. Jamid immediately knew something was not wrong and suspected the worst, his little sister had been found. Six hours later, police had one person in custody for questioning and pending further investigation.

Tonight, the identity of the individual in custody has been released and in what appears to be a shocking revelation, the person is also the main suspect in the death of a Maya Mopan Extension resident of Belmopan, Stephen Lewis of 53 years of age. Lewis was stabbed to death and had his neck slit and his assailant made good their escape with a cellphone, jewelry and cash.

The man pinpointed for these two homicides is twenty-nine year old Pedro Alberto Ical, of the Salvapan Area of Belmopan. Reports reaching our newsroom are that Ical has been linked to both murders by a text message sent from Lewis' SIM that is alleged was in Ical's possession. Reports to our newsroom also indicate that Ical was arrested while at his sister's house in San Ignacio Town, where he had with him Martinez' cellphone and jewelry.

What is of an interesting note is that Pedro Alberto Ical was released last week Thursday, September 27th from prison. Ical was on remand for the assault and rape of a twenty year old female from Teakettle Village back in March of 2011.


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Suspect In Suzenne's Murder Not Charged

Alberto Ical from Maya Mopan was detained as the main suspect in the murder of Suzenne (Suzenny) Martinez. But tonight the news is that he has been released by San Ignacio Police.

But he is not a free man because he was then immediately re-detained by Belmopan police.

They are investigating him not for murder, but for handling stolen goods. Those goods are the ones stolen from the home of Robert Lewis in Maya Mopan. They include a SIM card and assorted pieces of jewelry which are confirmed to be from the Lewis home.

Ical is also being questioned for the murder of Robert Lewis - who was killed in that home in Maya Mopan on Monday morning. And so while he is expected to be charged for handling stolen goods shortly - he remains under investigation for the murders of Suzenne Martinez and Robert Lewis.

But, at this point, the DPP says there's not enough evidence to bring charges for those murders. She held a meeting with police investigators from San Ignacio in Belmopan this morning to give them further instructions on how to proceed with the murder investigation.

The university of Belize where Suzenne was a student has issued a statement lamenting her murder and that of another student Norval Belisle Jr. who was killed three weeks ago.

The statement says quote, "Suzenne and Norval were shining lights, excellent students, We must recognize that the violence which took them from us is an expression of the social breakdown that must be overcome if we are to offer our youth a chance of leading lives that provides a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment."

Channel 7

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Hon. Wilfred Will Meet Cayo Community

Tomorrow night, the Community in Cayo will be able to grill the Attorney General about the problems with the justice system. Further to a meeting yesterday between the Prime Minister and the leaders of the Cayo Neighborhood Watch Association, the PM has dispatched AG Wilfred Elrington to Cayo for a meeting to be hled tomorrow night.

The meeting will be held at 7:00 pm at the ITVET Building.

And then, on Thursday, the community is being asked to participate in a voluntary all day shutdown form 7:00 am to 6:00 pm to protest against crime - as a part of the Solidarity for Peace effort which will include a demonstration in front of the town's police station.

Channel 7

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It was painful tonight to watch the people of San Ignacio and Santa Elena disappointingly walk out of the public meeting with the Honorable the Attorney General after two hours of listening to him and getting no answers they were hoping for.

Residents of San Ignacio got enough of hearing, as they said, "nothing" from the Attorney General and walked out on him as he spoke at the public meeting on Wednesday night.

Patrick Jones

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Belmopan, 11th October, 2012. The Prime Minister of Belize, the Hon. Dean
Barrow, has offered his congratulations and thanks to the thousands of
Belizeans from the Cayo District and across the country who participated in the
San Ignacio/Santa Elena peaceful protest against crime. The Prime Minister
views this latest mass action against the greatest scourge in our country, as a
continuation of the same Cayo spirit and resolve that he highlighted in his
Independence Day Address.

The Prime Minister also acknowledges that it remains Government's primary
responsibility to safeguard citizens in Cayo and all of Belize. He therefore
reiterates the commitments he made in his meeting with the leaders of the
Solidarity Movement for Justice and Peace. Accordingly, the Government of
Belize will:

1. Immediately provide additional resources (including vehicles) to the Cayo
Formation of the Belize Police Department;

2. Implement a sexual offenders registry and monitoring system;

3. Operationalize immediately after the official handover of the technology
and equipment by the Canadian Minister of State in the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs this Friday, the Integrated Ballistics Identification System

4. Ensure, together with the Magistracy and Judiciary, the proper
enforcement of the laws governing denial of bail in cases of sexual and
other serious offences;

5. Fast-track the efforts with the Government of the United States to finalize
arrangements for an expert in DNA Science to be attached to Belize's
National Forensic Science Service to mentor our local analysts as well as
to act as a professional witness for cases having to do with forensic

6. Strengthen the Police Prosecution branch and institute greater
coordination between the Police and the Office of the Director of the
Public Prosecution to ensure more effectiveness in the investigation and
preparation of cases for prosecution.

In ending, the Prime Minister reassures the Cayo communities and the entire
Nation that the war on crime will not slacken but be heightened by increased
human and material resource allocation.

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