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Two kidnapping victims rescued in Cayo District #482446
01/10/14 03:56 AM
01/10/14 03:56 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 80,387
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

[Linked Image]

National Police Report: On Thursday, January 9th, 2014 at about 8:30AM, acting upon information received of a kidnapping, police visited the Chaa Creek Office situated on Burns Avenue, in San Ignacio Town, where they met 43 year old Theo Cocchi, Belizean businesswoman and owner of Parrot Nest Hotel situated in Bullet Tree Village, Cayo District. Cocchi reported that about 8:00AM, she left Parrot Nest Resort on board her white KIA Sportage SUV along with two guests: Kathen Kotay, 18, and Manisha Kotay, 22, both American Indian students of Saint Paul Virginia, USA.

While exiting her drive way she was approached by two Hispanic male persons armed with what appeared to be handguns. The men boarded the vehicle and drove off, stopping near the cemetery area where they met with two other Hispanic descent male persons. They then drove off in the direction of Paslow Falls road in Bullet Tree Village.

While on Paslow Falls road, they ordered everyone out of the vehicle. They then told Theo Cocchi that she needed to get $75,000.00 US in two hours’ time, and that they will hold Manisha and Kathen Katoy until she gets the money.

They then took away her Smart cell phone and ordered her to drive away on her vehicle to go and get the money, and when she returns to give them a call. They told her that she must not inform the Police or else they would kill her family. Before she left they took away her two gold rings one valued $350.00BZ and the other $100.00BZ and they told her to get more jewellery at her house. Theo Cocchi then drove off towards Bullet Tree and then visited the Chaa Creek Office from where she called the Police.

Quick police response resulted in the rescue of both Manisha and Kathen Kotay. Neither of them was injured and both are in good health.

The entire area of Paslow Falls Road, Santa Rosa Road and Calla Creek was checked for the suspects where three Hispanic male persons were sighted by residents fleeing to the border and are believed to be Guatemalans. Police found in the area a blue knap sack with wet clothes including an orange sweater and wet blue sweater believed to be the clothes that the suspects were wearing at the time. The white Sportage SUV was also recovered. Police investigations continue.

Re: Two kidnapping victims rescued in Cayo District [Re: Marty] #482448
01/10/14 04:04 AM
01/10/14 04:04 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 80,387
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

Police Free Two Tourists Taken Hostage In The West

Tonight, authorities in San Ignacio continue to search for 4 Hispanic men, believed to be Guatemalans after 2 Americans were taken hostage this morning.

Police managed to save 18 year-old Kathen Kotay and 22 year-old Manisha Kotay, both tourists originally from the US State of Virginia. It was a race against time, and with the help of the residents of the Cayo District, police managed to foil the plot.

Daniel Ortiz was in Cayo today, and he went looking for details:

Daniel Ortiz reporting
Theo Cocchi embraced her 2 guests this afternoon in front of the police station like they were her family.

It was understandable, after all, they did go through a traumatic experience together, and they survived it.

The 2 American tourists had made reservations to get a tour of the ATM caves, but because it was closed to the public, they had to make different reservations.

Cocchi was hosting them at her resort called Parrot's Nest, and after they ate she offered them a ride to San Ignacio. She had just driven them out of her establishment and on the way to Bullet Tree Road, a man stepped in front of the vehicle blocking her.

When she slowed down, another man ambushed the three of them, and at gunpoint he ordered her to let them in.

Fearing for all of their lives, she did and when the 2 men got in, the armed man ordered her to take them to a secluded area of Paslow Falls.

When they got a deserted location, the men jumped out, took the guests hostage, and made demands of Cocchi. She was to return with $75,000, or the guests would be killed; if she alerted the police, they would be killed. She promised them she would return with the money, and when she went back to her business place, concerned friends and associates found her in distress.

When they learned what had happened, they called the police, banded together, and went searching for the hostage tourists themselves.

Their quick thinking led to the discovery of the woman, which snowballed into the recovery the man.

Michael Waight - Helped Rescue the Tourists
"We got the news that the people were being taken to Paslow Falls area, so we try to respond with the police, we needed help from the police because we didn't have guns, only machete. We tried to move as fast as we could to rescue these people. Actually we went to the police and got them because they didnt have a vehicle, but the police mobile came afterwards and we went to Paslow Falls area looking for the direction where these people went."

"We ended up getting from the police afterwards. With the police and the cooperation of friends we ended up finding the people."

"How far off the road did you find the guests?"

Michael Waight - Helped Rescue the Tourists
"The guests were in the jungle. They heard the police."

"How much minutes walking in?"

Michael Waight - Helped Rescue the Tourists
"Not too much minutes in. She was frightened, really scared because the men had guns."

Daniel Ortiz
"Tell us about how you guys found the brother?"

Michael Waight - Helped Rescue the Tourists "She told us that her brother were a little bit ahead, so we ended up rescued the brother along with the police." By that time police joined them, and they set chase after the men, who were still very close by. They managed to escape, and since then a joint search between BSAG, MIT, and San Ignacio Police has been ongoing.

It is believed that the quick response from the residents, and the concerted efforts of law enforcement circling the areas, cornered the assailants, and they realized that they wouldn't get far with the hostages. They let them go, and fled.

The suspects were first believed to be wanted Belizeans who have been terrorizing San Ignacio and Santa Elena for the past few months, but after getting more information, police believe that all the 3 or 4 men who worked to conduct this kidnapping are Guatemalans. They are working with their Guatemalan counterparts to locate these men, if they have fled across the border.

Should the police be able to detain them, the BTB is making arrangements to have the guests stay in Belize, to identify them and bring them to swift justice. Crimes against tourists have been difficult to persecute.

Kevin Gonzalez - Director, Destination Planning, BTB
"Ever since the Placencia incident, one of the things that we have established or started to do with the guests, we discussed with them to normally try and find out when they are leaving and if necessary we will keep them in the country at our cost."

Both tourists were unharmed when they were rescued; they continue to be given sanctuary at the Parrot Nest Lodge.

Police say that they found a blue knap sack in the area where the Kotay siblings were rescued. It was stuffed with wet clothes, including an orange sweater and wet blue sweater believed to be what the suspects were wearing at the time of the kidnapping.

Channel 7

Re: Two kidnapping victims rescued in Cayo District [Re: Marty] #482467
01/10/14 05:38 AM
01/10/14 05:38 AM
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,461
Belize City
Katie Valk Offline

Katie Valk  Offline
Nuff respect to all who jumped in and grateful this ended well for our visitors

Belize based travel specialist
[email protected]
Re: Two kidnapping victims rescued in Cayo District [Re: Marty] #482580
01/11/14 04:01 AM
01/11/14 04:01 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 80,387
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

One-on-one with resort owner kidnapped in the West

Kathen & Manisha Kotay

A pair of siblings on vacation in the Cayo District was kidnapped but rescued on Thursday morning by the police with the cooperation of residents from Bullet Tree Falls. The four abductors are still at large and two are believed to have been involved in the murder of Canadian national Brian Townsend.  One suspect is likely from the area.  Kathen and Manisha Kotay are recovering from the ordeal that occurred when they left the Parrot’s Nest along with its owner Theo Cocchi. Cocchi was behind the steering wheel of the vehicle when three armed men emerged from the nearby bushes and stopped them.  They were driven through the village before the Kotays were ordered out of the vehicle.  Cocchi was then instructed to get the ransom money but she bravely alerted the police and residents. Cocchi spoke to News Five’s Isani Cayetano today reliving the horrible experience.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The traumatic experience of being snatched at gunpoint by a duo of dangerous bandits is a memory that will remain with forty-three-year-old Theo Cocchi.  The proprietor of Parrot’s Nest, a quaint, off the beaten path lodge in Bullet Tree Falls had just offered her guests a ride to San Ignacio and was making her way along a dirt road, beneath a canopy of trees, when they were pounced upon.

Voice of: Theo Cocchi, Proprietor, Parrot’s Nest Lodge

“They pulled out a gun and they came to my door and opened my door and the next one went around and got in the backseat and he told me to climb through the center console and I went in the backseat and the one next to me had a gun while the other one started driving my car.”

Inside the vehicle was eighteen-year-old Kathen Kotay and his sister Manisha.  The siblings are on vacation and were on their way to town when they were held captive.  They kept driving along the Bullet Tree Road.

Voice of: Theo Cocchi

“And so we drove through the village during school hours, you know, there’s lots of people on the street.  They turned and they wanted to go to Paslow Falls Road [but] my car stalled out on them, they couldn’t drive it.  They wanted the other people, the two guests to drive it [but] neither one of them knew how to drive so they put me to drive it again and then they just drive down Paslow Falls maybe, I don’t know, three miles.  In the meantime he was explaining what he wanted from me.”

A ransom of seventy-five thousand dollars, was being demanded of Cocchi, along with a warning that if she alerted the authorities her guests would both be killed.

Voice of: Theo Cocchi

“So they took my two guests as hostages and they let me go.  Then I hightailed, flooring it home, and well the rest is phone calls to the neighbors and the police and the boys in the neighborhood came down in record time like not even three minutes and there was a team of guys from my neighborhood out here.”

Among them was Special Constable Chris Cariddi.  He suspects that the kidnapping was orchestrated by a pair of fugitives working together with Guatemalan outlaws to carry out the plot.

Chris Cariddi

Chris Cariddi, Rescuer

“From reports that the police were talking about they have been indicating that they may have teamed up some Guatemalans up by El Pilar to conduct this thing and at this point that’s still unconfirmed, speculation because it’s a four-man team.  And the way that they moved and the way that they knew the village for them to be able to know, right, had to be a villager or an ex-villager of this village because of the trails that we were on aren’t known trails.”

After systematically combing the area the team of responders, including police and military personnel, as well as members of the public, was able to locate the siblings in separate locations.

Jonathan Cariddi

Jonathan Cariddi, Rescuer

“The combination of civilians and the police working hand in hand, I think, is what saved those guys lives.”

Isani Cayetano

“Describe to me the assailants.  Are they people familiar to you in terms of one particular individual, they are saying, is from the Bullet Tree Falls area?”

Voice of: Theo Cocchi

“I don’t know.  I don’t know, you know, I didn’t recognize them as boys from the area.  I mean, I see everybody, I see them when I am driving.  I didn’t recognize them, I thought that they looked, you know, I was wondering what they were doing on my road but they were well dressed, you know.  They didn’t look like shady people, you know.”

While the village has since returned to normalcy, the frightening ordeal, says Cocchi, may not leave her guests too distressed.

Voice of: Theo Cocchi

“Their reaction, you know, they were positive.  They were really positive and even though it’s a terrible thing that happened everything ended well and they’re not going home scarred for life but they are going home shaken.  But they had a good experience all except for that in Belize.  They loved their trip.”

Isani Cayetano

“Do you feel as though this incident will affect your business or do you…  What‘s your feeling or your position on something like that?”

Voice of: Theo Cocchi

“It’s a terrible thing that happened.  I hope it doesn’t happen again.  I don’y know what’s wrong with these people nowadays why there’s so much crime.  I’ve never had a problem back at Parrot’s Nest.  I don’t see, it will maybe affect because everything goes public but it is what it is, we’ll deal with it as it comes.  We’ll certainly inform our guests.  We’ll do what we can to upgrade a little bit, we’re a small business.  That’s all I can do.”

Channel 5

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