Right now, two Corozal families are very worried about their loved ones, 32 year-old Zeidy Orozco, and her 41 year-old boyfriend, Baltazar Lopez. The couple have been missing for 72 hours now, and the hope to find them alive and well is dwindling with every passing hour.
Our News team has been out all day in Corozal, and they were along with search parties looking for Orozco and Baltazar. Daniel Ortiz examines at the troubling aspects of their disappearance which has these families fretting tonight. Here's that story:
Daniel Ortiz reporting
This evening, the families of 31 year-old Zeidy Orozco, and 41 year-old Baltazar Lopez finished a long day's search in the remote parts of Corozal.
They've been looking for the couple for 4 days now; and these loved-ones are starting to confront the very grim possibility that this search will end with them retrieving Zeidy's and Baltazar's bodies.
Yet, they are still hopeful.
Martin Lopez - Brother of Baltazar Lopez "The last hope is finding them alive, because for that reason we are searching daily without stop. We have run approximately all the surrounding areas - Corozal Town without stop."
Troy Ferguson - Brother-in-law of Zeidy Orozco "There is a little think in the back of your mind saying after 3 days we are not looking for them alive, but hope is still there are somewhere maybe tied up or something like that. We want to always keep hope that they are still alive. But the dark reality is slipping in now because of all the time that has passed already."
The most worrisome element of their disappearance is that Zeidy's car was set on fire and completely destroyed. Police found it here in an area off the road which links the Corozal Villages of Yo Chen and Patchakan. It's very remote, and it is surrounded by cane fields - making it rather difficult to find. We needed the help of the families to properly guide us here. Whoever torched the car, clearly didn't want it found easily.
Troy Ferguson - Brother-in-law of Zeidy Orozco "One of the owners of the area where it was found was a co-worker of the family members and they told him they found a vehicle. They didn't specify it was that vehicle that we were looking for, but they found a vehicle and we headed right there and it that vehicle and that's the way we knew that. Her particular vehicle had a problem with the ignition. It had a key stuck in, so they put on an adaption ignition on the other side. I told them let us check the ignition, the keys can't be burnt and as such we found the key in the ignition and it was through that we identified the vehicle."
"It's my opinion that something went wrong. We don't know what it is, who is responsible, but it doesn't seem to be something just on the fly. It was something plan or something deliberate. That's what I am interpreting."
Plus, the families insist that Zeidy and Baltazar would have checked in by now:
Troy Ferguson - Brother-in-law of Zeidy Orozco "As for the female part, she is responsible for her daughter who you see in the picture and her father. So roughly around 8:30-9:00 on Friday we found out she had not arrive at her house, which is very unusual because she is very responsible when it comes to her daughter and of course her father."
Martin Lopez - Brother of Baltazar Lopez "He was in charge of a construction in front of his mother's house. They had a casting that should have started 5am in the morning on Friday and it was unusual that he didn't reach, because he is a responsible person when it comes to work. Even that day was payday and the time started to run and we dial his number and it went directly to voicemail, no answer. We say that maybe he will come late, but nothing."
So, they've also been following in their footsteps to get a sense of their last confirmed sightings.
Troy Ferguson - Brother-in-law of Zeidy Orozco "We know the areas they frequented and Mr. Baltazar was well-known for referee pool games. He was well-known to be in the pool place and we went there which we know because she has stated that she was going to pick him up there and we confirmed with a police officer who I think frequents or owned the pool shop and he told us that yes she did arrive, she got in and they left. As well the last credible sighting was in front of which was once the Social Security office for Corozal, across by a police officer as well, that yes they were there."
While the search has not yielded results as yet, some of these family members are not pleased with what they see as little police involvement in the case. They are demanding more from the cops in the search.
Martin Lopez - Brother of Baltazar Lopez "We can't only depend on the police, that's why we are moving up asking for assistance. Every day we are spending on fuel, food, but with the hope that we might come up with some result."
Troy Ferguson - Brother-in-law of Zeidy Orozco "I don't believe that they are doing all they can do. Yes they are assisting to an extent, but their search compared to what we are doing is not half as much. It shows that you care and we are part of your community. We are expecting that you guys protect us and whenever we need you, we are expecting you to respond to the fullest. Show us that you care."
Corozal Police didn't comment today.
This is the second couple from Corozal to go missing in 6 weeks. Viewers will remember the high profile case which made international news about Canadian Francesca Matus and American Drew Devoursney, who were found brutally murdered in a cane field.
Five Days Later, Bodies of Baltazar and Zeidy Found In A Wooded Area
Today, the worst fears of many Corozalenos were realized when the bodies of 32 year old Zeidy Orosco and 41 year old Baltazar Lopez were found.
Almost five days after they were last seen, their bodies were located in a wooded area off the Consejo Road, leading to a dump. They were found a few feet apart from each other, on the ground. That put a tragic end to a search that had been going on for days. Here's the scene at the site of the discovery, courtesy CTV-3:
At around 2:00, police got the call that the bodies had been found. When the media got there, the police scenes of crime team was racing unto the scene and onlookers - including searchers - were also rushing into the area but police had already blocked it off:
Sr. Supt. Dennis Arnold, Officer Commanding - Corozal "Well someone had just called the station indicating that apparently two decomposed bodies were found near Consejo."
Aaron Babb was one of the first on the scene, and described what he saw:
Aaron Babb - Member, Search Party "And I got a call from a friend saying the dump truck as passing by saw some vultures and saw something that appeared to be the bodies and since they told me that I hurry and came this side, me and another friend and as I walked in there I was sure it was them. Found the people from the transport department already by the area and went in that's the way they were found."
Reporter "How were you sure that it was them?"
Aaron Babb "The girl actually is not family but we're close as we were family and I see her every day and there is now way I can miss her and plus the clothes that she was having, the same clothes that she was described of getting out of her house the day she want missing."
This area near Consejo Road by the dump is familiar to the searchers who gathered here today - they had already been all over it:
Aaron Babb "This area we were here Monday, we actually went in all of the feeder roads on Monday and we still didn't come up with it, I'm a little surprised that not too far and if I'm not mistaken we went in by this road and we didn't find it, well maybe it was because the vultures weren't around or the smell wasn't as strong as it is right now."
But, somehow - even though they went down every road - they missed it, or the bodies were put there after they searched on Monday. Whatever the case, it's now the final resting place for Baltazar Lopez and Zeydi Orosco - and the opening of another double murder mystery for police:
Aaron Babb "Well something is wrong, something is really wrong here in Corozal because years before you could walk ten, eleven, twelve in the night and you're not afraid of anyone or anything. Now with double murder like you said, double and double, we have to be careful, something is really wrong and I think the police and the authorities need to do something."
Reporter "Are we seeing similarities in these two cases when it comes to this one and the one of the Canadian national and the American national? Vehicle was burnt, first the people went missing, vehicle was burnt, cane field and now we're finding two bodies. Are we seeing the same modus operandi if we can use this word at this time."
Sr. Supt. Dennis Arnold
"Somewhat but at present I am not sure if the bodies are in a cane field."
Cane field or not, two more are dead, and these families believe police could have done more:
Aaron Babb "Well I'm sorry to say, I'm really sorry to say but we were out Saturday, Sunday, Monday and no sight of any police, any BDF, any authorities helping until today."
Sr. Supt. Dennis Arnold "I believe that the family was anxious and desperate and regardless of how much police we put out there wouldn't have been enough. What I can say is from Friday we got that information of these missing persons, police were out there every single day. For example yesterday we have 20 officers out there looking."
No cause of death is known at this time - and the post mortem will be conducted on site tomorrow - which has caused the families some distress since they want to give their loved ones a burial.
As you heard in the story, it's the second Corozal couple to have been found dead in five weeks; the first was American Drew Devoursney and Canadian Francesca Matus. Now, 32-year-old Zeida Orosco was from San Andres Corozal, while Baltazar Lopez is from Ranchito Village. They were both last seen together at 9:30 on Friday night, and her car was found burnt on Sunday about 2 miles south-west of Patchakan Village. The area where the bodies were found is quite a distance away from where the vehicle was located.
Balthazar Lopez and Zeidy Orozco Found Dead and Decomposing in Consejo
Five murders in just over a month in Corozal have thrown the municipality in the grips of a murder spree. Today, the bodies of a missing couple were found at around two o’clock. Families of Zeidy Orozco and Balthazar Lopez had decided to discontinue their searches in the coming days, when the grim discovery was made. The bodies were found on the Consejo Road, several villages away from where the burnt vehicle of Orozco was found on Friday near Patchakan. Orozco and Lopez were last seen alive on Thursday night in Corozal Town hanging out by the sea. And even as families members were bracing for the worst; today’s find has brought immeasurable pain. News Five’s Isani Cayetano and Duane Moody report.
Duane Moody, Reporting
Thirty-four-year-old Zeidy Orozco and forty-two-year-old Balthazar Lopez were last seen alive exactly one week ago, on May thirty-first. In the immediate aftermath of their disappearance, both families launched search parties across Corozal District looking for their loved ones. And around two o’clock this afternoon, their worst fears were confirmed when the bodies of the missing couple were discovered off a feeder road along the Consejo Road. Aaron Babb, who was a member of the search party in the area, came up on the badly decomposed bodies.
Aaron Babb, Discovered Bodies
“I was coming out from my house to meet with the searching group again and I got a call from a friend who says that a dump truck was passing by, saw some vultures and saw something that appeared to be the bodies. Since they told me that, I hurry and came this side—me and another friend—and as I walked in there, I was sure it was them. I found the people from the transport department already by the area and went in and that’s the way they were found.”
Babb was a very close friend to Orozco, and says that he identified her body by the clothes she was last seen wearing when she and her boyfriend went missing. Exactly one week ago, Orozco picked up Lopez in her car from Machie Pool Spot after eight p.m. that night and then hung out near the seaside in the vicinity of Corozo Blues. But they never returned to their homes in San Andres and Calcutta villages and her car would be discovered torched in the outskirts of Patchakan Village. A massive search by families and friends as well as the police came up empty-handed; that is until today.
“This area we were here Monday. We actually went in, I would say all of the feeder roads on Monday and we still didn’t came up on it. I am a little surprise that it is not too far. We went in by this road and we didn’t find it and well maybe it’s because the vultures weren’t around and the smell wasn’t as strong as it is right now. But we missed on Monday and they got found today.”
Shortly after the discovery, police as well as B.D.F. personnel joined relatives and friends on the Consejo Road, before cordoning off the access to the dumpsite, to process the scene of yet another double murder in that northern jurisdiction. The Corozal Police have come under fire recently for their presumed lack of involvement in the search for the missing couple and their noticeable quiet in the early part of the investigation.
Sr. Supt. Dennis Arnold, O.C., Corozal Police
“If we had the information certainly we would have shared it. But we had no information, just like the families; [they] had no information. All we had gotten that these persons were missing. Who took them? Where they went? Nothing was forthcoming from anyone. So if we had that information, I’m sure we would have shared it.”
“In the wake of the report being made by the family, what were the efforts by the police department to either create a search party of its own to canvas the area in search of these people?”
Sr. Supt. Dennis Arnold
“Yes we did that. From the time that report was made Thursday….the report was made about a quarter to two. By three-forty-five, we had found the vehicle near Cristo Rey vehicle. From then police officers are out every day.”
The families tonight remain perplexed as to who would want Orozco and Lopez dead and why. It is the second double murder in the past six weeks and five homicides since the start of May. Has Corozal become a dangerous municipality?
“Something is wrong. Something is really wrong here in Corozal cause years before you could walk ten, eleven, twelve in the night and you are not afraid of anyone or anything. Now with double murder, like you said…double and double, we have to be careful. Something is really wrong. And I think the police and the authorities need to do something.”