Tonight, police are looking for a man who broke into the home of an American couple in Corozal and killed a 74 year old woman, while injuring her 81 year old husband.
It's a home invasion turned murder -in a retirement community where residents would never expect such a thing. Jules Vasquez reports:...
Jules Vasquez reporting
The OASIS, it's an expatriate housing community, at mile one on the Consejo road - basically one mile out of Corozal town. It's actually a retirement community, home to mostly Canadians and Americans - who come here generally for the winter months.
Americans Gary and Elizabeth Rosseau lived here, #7 Oasis Park Drive - the quaint setting belies the violence that played out here last night.
Around 7:45 a robber may have come through these bushes at the back and slipped in through the bathroom window.
81 year old Gary Hawke and his 74 year old wife Elizabeth Rosseau - who have the regular infirmities of old age were brutally assaulted by the robber:
ACP Joseph Myvette, HNCIB
"According to Mr. Hake, sometime between 7:45 and 8pm, whilst they were in their living room, his wife entered the room where she was attacked by a male person. As a result of hearing the commotion, he then proceeded to the bedroom where he met a male person who inflicted stab wounds to him. He also realized that his wife was stabbed."
She got the worst of it, stabbed to the ribs, neck and chest, while Hawke was stabbed to the ribs - what police say was a superficial wound. Still, she managed to call a neighbour for help.
Two neighbours rushed them to the Corozal Hospital - but Elizabeth Rosseau's injury was so serious, she had to be taken to the Northern Region. She died on the way there, bleeding out from internal injuries.
A life lost for a petty theft:
ACP Joseph Myvette
"A purse containing personal effects was stolen."
Personal effects and a few hundred dollars. Police say there are elements of a well-orchestrated home invasion - and reports tell us that the couple went to the bak earlier that day:
ACP Joseph Myvette
"What we have gathered so far is that the power from the home was cut from outside before the intruder had entered the building. from an investigative standpoint it had to be someone who had either had some knowledge of the area to know where the switch was, so we are looking at several angles in respect to that and as we speak the officers are still out there canvassing the area."
Canvassing the area and taking fingerprints from the various construction workers - Belizeans who come from the surrounding villages.
It seems a lot like profiling, and it is very unusual to take such a wide sweep of possible suspects, but it is indicative of the priority police are putting on solving this crime.
Today we saw them very active in the area, combing the perimeter of the house - whose back fence is right up against the road.
Residents we spoke to were shaken by the crime. It's a quiet community of persons who came to live here because of the peaceful uncomplicated life, and now this happened:
Patrick Henderson, Oasis Resident
"I am right surprised because things shouldn't happen in places like this."
"Is this something that has short of shaken your sense of security in this Oasis Housing community?"
Patrick Henderson, Oasis Resident
"Well I'm realistic and the world is like that now, because in Canada you got murders too, so yeah but I feel different, because you don't feel as safe as you were before."
81 year old Gary Hawke has been treated and released for his superficial wounds.
We note that this home invasion - slash - murder happened and one mile from Serenity Sands - where American Drew Devoursney and Canadian Francesca Matus were killed in May of 2017. No one has been charged for that couple's murder.
And, then in June of 2017, another couple, Baltazar Lopez and Zeidy Orozco were found murdered - also a mile away on the same Consejo Road. Also, in their case, no one has been arrested.
So, in less than two years, 5 persons - 3 of them expatriates - have now been found murdered within a one mile radius of each other.
American Couple Targeted; Wife is Fatally Stabbed
Corozal police, with assistance from the Major Crimes Unit, are investigating a horrifying home invasion turned murder. The home of retired American couple Elizabeth Rousseau and Gary Hakes was broken into sometime between seven forty-five and eight p.m. on Wednesday night. The couple was at home when a male intruder gained access to the building via the bathroom window. The intruder reportedly cut off the power supply to the residence before sneaking into the couple’s bedroom. When Rousseau entered, he attacked and stabbed her. The husband came to her aid and he too was attacked before the murderer escaped with a purse. As News Five’s Hipolito Novelo found out today, the culprit is someone who has knowledge of Oasis, a small community of expats in Consejo where the murder happened.
Hipolito Novelo, Reporting
An American woman is dead and her American husband left injured and traumatized, following a terrifying home invasion on Wednesday night. The victims have been identified as seventy-four-year-old Elizabeth Rousseau and eighty-four-year-old Gary Hakes. The couple was in their retirement home in Oasis, a small community comprised of expats in the Consejo Area of Corozal, when they were viciously attacked by a male intruder. Investigators were seen this morning canvassing the area for clues. It is believed that the killer gained access to the couple’s fenced yard through the rear, before breaking into the house through the bathroom window. The couple was unaware that a killer had breached the safety of their home.
ACP Joseph Myvett, Head, National Crimes Investigation Branch
“Sometime between seven forty-five and eight pm, whiles they were in their living room, his wife entered the room where she was attacked by a male person. As a result of hearing the commotion, he then proceeded to the bedroom where he met a male person who inflicted stab wounds to him. He also realized that his wife was stabbed.”
“It was brutal and cruel.”
Hugo Patt, Area Rep., Corozal North
“It was brutal yes. The way that it was described by police everything indicates that it was a struggle. It ended up violent and I can just imagine the mayhem that happened and the after effects that particularly the husband now is going through. It is a trauma that I don’t think anybody can bear.”
Fellow expats rushed the couple to the Corozal Community Hospital where the wife was stabilized before being transported to the Northern Regional Hospital. She died on the way. Hake, we are told, received superficial injuries and was discharged. Neighbors woke up to the terrible news.
Patrick Henderson, Resident
“Last night, when we heard it was like whoa. We didn’t expect that here. And then when I woke up this morning I see police came to my neighbor Patrick and asked him what happened. He said the woman died. That was pretty rough. You don’t expect that here. All the house in here except for mines, I think they don’t have burglar bars.”
According to ACP Joseph Myvett, the culprit stole a purse containing personal items before fleeing the crime scene. It is believed that whoever the killer is, is it someone who is familiar with the area.
ACP Joseph Myvett
“What we have gathered so far is that the power from the home was cut from outside before the intruder had entered the building. What alert neighbors was the commotion however when the neighbor got over there the incident had already occurred. From an investigative standpoint it had to be someone who had some knowledge of the area to know where the switch so we are looking at several angles in respect to that.”
An additional team from the Major Crimes Unit in Belmopan has been sent to assist Corozal police with the investigation. Meanwhile, Corozal North Area Representative, Hugo Patt, condemns such a cold-blooded murder.
“It is a very shocking situation. It is a situation that particularly in this area of Corozal who would know that Consejo and that stretch of road is known as a haven for expats. We have American expats; we have Canadian expats in the country. We at the end of the day know that they are seeking a peaceful and quiet place to rest and have a nice time. When things like this happen it is really shocking. It is something that we strongly condemned. There are no words to describe the atrocity that happened. Certainly, we make an appeal on the authorities or anyone who can provide any kind of information that will lead to the culprits because justice needs to be brought to these people. It cannot be out of having your space in your own home somebody would come and invade and worse yet would eventually take the life of someone. Considering that these are two elderly people, this is something that cannot be countenanced.”
“It will affect you, for any normal person it will affect you if it happened so close. But that doesn’t turn me against Belize or Belizeans. I love Belize.”