Our information is that the motive was robbery and that the attacker or attackers broke into Foster’s home, collected his guns, kidnapped him, took his pickup and then later executed him at the Rivera area.
Police are looking for a suspect from Hattieville - who is a well-known crime figure. As seen on this poster, there is a $1,000 reward for anyone with information leading to the arrest and charge of persons responsible for the murder of Richard Foster.
Foster had been living in Belize for over 40 years, and was loved and admired by many in Belize. The staff from the Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center were close to the Fosters and they sent a release. It states, quote, "We deeply mourn the tragic loss of our long-time colleague and dear friend, Richard Foster. We are forever grateful and honoured to have had Richard as part of our Zoo family.... he was at the foundation and heart of this institution, and, through his camera lens, passionately shared our commitment to the protection of Belize’s wildlife and their habitats."
As you saw in the story, Foster was involved in many international nature documentaries, and this weekend Channel 7 will be airing two of his most seminal: “Selva Verde, The Green Jungle” and “Amate The Great Fig Tree”, both filmed in Belize.
From Channel 7
British Filmmaker, Richard Foster, Found Stabbed to Death
Shockwaves were felt across the conservation and film industry communities after it was learned that the body of seventy-four-year-old Richard Foster was found on Tuesday night. The well known British filmmaker had been brutally stabbed and his body was dumped in the Rivera area of Belmopan. The gruesome discovery was made at around eight o’clock by one of the residents who saw the corpse near a creek in the area. Foster disappeared from his home at Savanna Guest House along the George Price Highway. His home had been ransacked and monies were stolen. His two firearms, a nine millimeter Smith and Wesson and a twelve gauge shotgun were also stolen. His Toyota pickup was later found in the Mahogany Heights area. All the evidence pointed to a brazen kidnapping which resulted in Foster’s demise. But who would want him dead? News Five Hipolito Novelo was in Belmopan today looking for answers.
Hipolito Novelo, Reporting
The life of seventy-four-year-old British Filmmaker, Richard Foster, came to a shocking and tragic end on Tuesday. His body was found in the Rivera area of Belmopan, less than a day after being kidnapped from his home at Savanna Guest House on the George Price Highway.
Foster’s body was found by a resident of the area who told News Five that the corpse was seen dumped near the creek. According to the eyewitness, Foster was without a shirt. He was wearing a pair of pants only. That unnamed individual says that he observed Foster’s body with several stab wounds. This was confirmed by an official police report which also stated that injuries to Foster’s head were also observed.
Foster was abducted from his home sometime between Monday night and Tuesday morning. His Toyota Hilux pickup was recovered in the Mahogany Heights community in a bushy area near a water reservoir. Inside the vehicle, investigators found blood.
One of the last persons to see Foster alive is Javier Molina. He is the President of Belize Audio Visual Association. He worked closely with the Fosters. In fact, he was with them last week. It was Carol who called Molina to share the terrible news.
Javier Molina, Friend of Richard Foster
“When I first got the news, it was a text message from Miss Carol. I knew she was away seeking medical attention. The text message was basically ‘Javier did you know that Richard is missing and they robbed our house’. I was shocked. I mean they have been living in that location for so many years. I thought it was peaceful. I am sure they thought it was safe there. I was just seriously in shock.”
….and that shock is being felt across the conservation and film industry communities.
Richard Foster was living alone for a few days. His wife, Carol, had recently left the country. They lived in Belize for more than three decades. Their home was open to everyone, as they lived in a sense of security from the 1970’s.
“If you go to their home you will see that it is open. It is just things to keep out insects and bugs. There were no burglar bars. They lived, I guess in a time when Belize was just like that from the seventies. That is how they continued to live, in an open, free and safe environment. That is how they felt in Belize.”
In Belize, authorities are trying to figure out the two most important questions: Who killed Richard Foster and why? British High Commissioner, Peter Hughes, says he has been communicating with the Belize Police Department.
Peter Hughes, British High Commissioner
“The brutal murder of Richard Foster has come as a massive shock to the many people in Belize who knew him. This is a horrible crime. Our hearts go out to his family, particularly his wife Carol during this incredibly difficult time. We have been in close contact with the Belizean authorities throughout this and will continue to do so but I cannot say any more because there is an ongoing investigation at this time.
At this time, there are more speculations than solid facts. One strong speculation is that the Fosters were under surveillance.
“I have a feeling that they were probably watching them. I mean, to do something like that they had to have an idea that these people were somewhat vulnerable. The fact that he was wearing a hearing aid and all of that. When we communicate I have to speak a little louder to him so that hears what I am saying. They felt safe in Belize.”
“Why would any want to hurt this elderly man who really did no harm no anyone?”
“There is absolutely no reason. If you knew Richard, you yourself would say that there is absolutely no, zero reason for someone to want to hurt this gentleman. He is open, he is friendly. He is giving. There is zero reason. Knowing him personally, there is zero chance that someone would have a grievance with this man.”
This man wasn’t an ordinary man. He gave plenty to the conservation and film industry communities. His work in documenting the lives of jaguars was crucial in conservation programs.
Janelle Chanona, Friend of Richard Foster
“He was certainly a giant in both the filmmaking industry as well as conservation efforts on a number of fronts. I certainly think that Belize is a little bit of a darker place now that we lost the light. His light has been snuffed out. It’s hard to imagine him being treated this way. Nobody deserves it. Certainly, I think for all us who knew him, worked with him, respected his work, and loved his work it’s really a very tragic loss to the nation. It’s hard to know how to feel about what he endured.”
“I am really sad that something like this happened to such good people. There are so nice. They give of themselves freely. For something like this to happen to people like this, it’s shocking, it’s saddening, maddening and on a whole it’s a huge loss for the film industry in Belize and Belize on a whole.”
On the Phone: Tony Rath, Friend of Richard Foster
“Richard, as most people, is probably the finest, greatest wildlife photographer that lived in Belize. But more than that he was just a really good person. He helped people all the time. He was not afraid to give out information and teach people about photography. He had a real love for the outdoors and conservation. It is a great loss for Belize. My heart goes out to his wife Carol who is also a great wildlife photographer.”
And to the person or persons who brutally killed Foster:
“You guys have no heart. This needs to stop. I don’t think what I want to say I can really say on TV. But seriously, they need to find love in their hearts because people who can do something like that have no love. It’s sad.”
Reporting for News Five, I am Hipolito Novelo.
Foster also worked closely with the Belize Zoo. This evening the zoo issued a statement which reads “We are forever grateful and honoured to have had Richard as part of our Zoo family; since TBZ’s inception, he was at the foundation and heart of this institution, and, through his camera lens, passionately shared our commitment to the protection of Belize’s wildlife and their habitats.” Carol and Richard had no children.
On August 7th 2018, filmmaker Richard Foster was at his home near the Belize Zoo (Democracia) when it is suspected burglars broke in, robbed him and then abducted him. His body was later discovered with multiple stab wounds in the Rivera area in the City of Belmopan. A $1,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to the arrest and charge of the person(s) responsible for the murder of Richard Foster. Please use the anonymous Crimestoppers hotline to report any information. These calls are answered by Miami Dade detectives in Florida. 0-800-922-8477 or 0-800-922-TIPS
GoFundMe: Justice and support for the Fosters
To help and contribute to a fund for Justice and Support for the Fosters, CLICK here
Internationally renowned British filmmaker murdered
Internationally acclaimed British photographer and filmmaker, Richard Foster, 74, was reported missing on Tuesday, from Savannah Guest House, his business and home, after the caretaker of his property found the house ransacked.
On Tuesday, around 9 p.m., tragically, his body was found in the Rivera area of Belmopan.
Foster, a British national, had lived in Belize for many years with his wife, Carol Foster. Since Carol is currently in the US, Richard Foster had been living alone when it appears that he was kidnapped. Carol tried to call Richard on Monday night around 8:00, and she grew concerned when she got no response. She then asked Glen McFadzean, the caretaker for the guest house, to check on him.
When McFadzean went to check on Foster the following Tuesday morning, around 7 a.m., he saw that the house was open. When he went inside, he found that it had been ransacked and he couldn’t find Richard.
McFadzean called the police, who, after searching the premises, reported that two guns, a 9mm pistol and a shotgun, and Foster’s Toyota Hilux, were missing – presumably stolen by Foster’s suspected kidnappers.
Later in the day, the police discovered the vehicle in the Mahogany Heights area in the Cayo District, in the bushes on a back road. The car had blood stains on the seat.
Police did not find any signs of Foster where the stolen vehicle was found, so they continued their search. Sometime around 8 p.m., police, acting upon information they received, discovered Foster’s body on the east bank of Roaring Creek, the creek from which the neighboring Roaring Creek Village got its name. He was found wearing only shorts and his legs were in the water.
The body was found with ten stab wounds, as well as head injuries. It was transported to the Western Regional Hospital and a post-mortem exam revealed that he died of traumatic asphyxiation due to being stabbed.
Although blood was found in Foster’s house and car, it was not substantial enough to indicate that he was killed in either place. There also was not enough blood found by the creek to indicate that he had been killed there.
Police currently have one person in custody, who they say is known to them. They also say that the motive for the kidnapping and murder appears to have been robbery.
Richard Foster was a pioneer in the establishment of The Belize Zoo. In 1983, a filmmaking team that was headed by Foster, who was the cinematographer, came to Belize to film a documentary called “Selva Verde.”
Sharon Matola, who now heads the zoo, accompanied the team as the animal caretaker.
After filming, the team debated about what to do with the animals, which included an ocelot, a puma, a jaguar, and several exotic birds. Since the animals were now tame, the team could not release the animals into the wild, but they also did not want to euthanize them.
When the filming crew left, Matola remained behind and created a makeshift zoo for the 17 animals. She used their enclosures as exhibits to generate funds for their care. The zoo was relocated to its current location at Mile 29 on the George Price Highway in 1991.
Shortly after producing the documentary, Foster moved to Belize and became naturalized. He and his wife, Carol, have filmed many nature documentaries for National Geographic and BBC right here in Belize, and developed them at their guest house at Mile 29 on the George Price Highway.
Some of Foster’s films include “Tales from Belize: Underwater World” and “Paradise on the Edge”; “Mysteries of the Ancient Maya”; “Land of the Anaconda”; “Jungle Nights”; “Jaguar: Year of the Cat”; “Hope – The Harpy Eagle”; sequences for the highly acclaimed BBC documentary Planet Earth; and much more.
The Fosters won two Emmys and many other awards for their work in Belize and around the world. Although they still made films, of late they had been primarily focused on conservation efforts.
The last time Foster was in the news was in October of 2010, when a jaguar that he had adopted and cared for escaped when a mango tree fell on its enclosure during Hurricane Richard. The escaped jaguar, named Max, attacked and killed one of the Fosters’ neighbors, Bruce Cullerton, 47.
Amandala had interviewed Foster about the incident, and he told us how devastated he was when he learned about the death of his friend. Foster also explained that he was upset that he had to euthanize the jaguar, but he said he understood why it had to be done.