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Murder On The High Seas, 3 Dead, Two Missing #536910
06/22/19 06:09 AM
06/22/19 06:09 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 70,379
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

Tonight, three Belize City families are in the throes of grief, while two more are praying for a miracle. This is after three men were found at sea murdered - and their two companions are missing. The five had reportedly gone on a lobster trapping expedition on Tuesday - basing their operations in the Swallow Caye area. But, it seems they met ruthless pirates in those waters just off Belize City.

Last night we reported on the first body that had been found near swallow Caye; by 7:30 this morning there were two more - and two unaccounted for.

It's a staggering body count - and I've been following up with police and the families all day. Here's the story:

Courtney Weatherborne reporting
In an amateur video captured yesterday evening, police are seen on the fisherman's pier on Marine Parade bringing in the first body from Swallow Caye, 3 miles off Belize City.

That body was later identified as city resident Travis Cooke. Then this morning around 6:30 another body turned up, this time it washed ashore off the coast of Belize City on Reggae Street in the Port Loyola area.

That's the body of Mahogany Street resident Ernest Wills. The third body, city resident Winston Santos was also found this morning around 7:30 back at Swallow Caye.

All 3 men were shot and killed. They were part of a group of about 5 fishermen who left the city on Tuesday to set traps for lobster out at sea. Cooke's girlfriend said they had just come back from another trip on Sunday and that is when Cooke told her that he had seen some people circling the area but none of them thought much of it and then they left out again on Tuesday.

Cooke's girlfriend said she spoke to Cooke on Tuesday night around 11:00 before his phone battery died and that was the last time she heard from him. They were to return yesterday, unfortunately it's their dead bodies that turned up. Now the families of these men are still trying to grapple with their murders and hunt for answers as to why they were executed at sea. Today police say they are still working on putting together all the elements in this very troubling triple murder case.

ASP Alejandro Cowo, OC CIB
"The information that we have received is that it was a group of fishermen that had left from Belize City en route to one of the cayes, which is about ten miles from Belize City where they are fishing for lobster. And I believe that they departed on Tuesday morning and the last time it was heard from them was Wednesday at about six in the morning."

"How many persons were in that initial group?"

ASP Alejandro Cowo
"This is something that we are trying to establish at this moment. Those are the only three bodies that we have found so far. We know that, according to interviews conducted with other family members, we understands that there is a possibility of two more persons being with them, but up to now the family members of those 2 persons have not approached the police and made any report as to anybody missing. It is not something common to find 3 bodies in a period of 22 hours, especially out at sea with different injuries to their bodies especially gunshot and it is something that we are closely communicating with the family to try to establish a motive. All that we have gathered so far is that they were working out there at a caye doing their fishing lobster and they were expected to return today or tomorrow morning to Belize City."

"Is there anything to suggest that maybe the incident maybe drug related?"

ASP Alejandro Cowo
"It is something that we cannot discard and it is possibility that we are looking at also, likewise."

The Police and the Coast guard are working closely together and coast guard officers are out at sea searching for more clues and for the other two persons believed to have gone on the trip. Police also located a vessel with fishing equipment near the Caye but no family member can confirm if that was the boat the men were in. Investigators also canvassed the Caye and they are not sure if the men were murdered there.

Wills and Cooke were shot to the head, Santos to the back.

And while the search continues for those two other men - we note that in January of this year, fisherman Evan Neal and two of his employees were also targeted in that area - specifically on Mapp Caye. In that case, Neal and another man have not been found while another man was found dead on the island. Neal's family tells us that this crew of five was also using Mapp Caye - and one of them had previously worked for Evan Neal previously.

Channel 7

Re: Murder On The High Seas, 3 Dead, Two Missing [Re: Marty] #536961
06/25/19 06:32 AM
06/25/19 06:32 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 70,379
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

The Swallow Caye 5: All Killed At Sea

It's been one of the most violent and unsettling weekends we've ever witnessed, with a staggering death toll: we have 9 murders to report on tonight, killings with motives ranging from narco-violence to a lovers' triangle.

We start where we left off Friday with the mass murder at sea. On Friday night: the body count was three dead, with two missing. But over the weekend the final two men were found - and, just like the first three, they had been murdered, shot multiple times. These two were found tied up behind Mapp Caye - not far from Swallow Caye - about three miles off the coast of Belize City, which is also where two of the other three had been found.

Mapp is an island used by lobster fishermen as a camp - but it seems the killers believed that 21 year old Jamar Martinez, 19 year old Allyson Jones, 23 year old Travis Cooke, 49 year old Ernest Wills and 40 year old Winston Santos had fished up something far more valuable than lobster; they may have thought the men found a large quantity of cocaine floating at sea.

Police believe that's the reason for the quintuple murder. Investigators now have to put together a multiple murder investigation for killings that happened at sea, far from any witnesses or fixed crime scene.

They discussed they mass murder yesterday at a press briefing - and Daniel Ortiz reports:

Daniel Ortiz reporting
5 men, who were only supposed to have been gone on a fishing trip for a few days, are now buried here at the Eternal Garden Cemetery.

The bodies of 23 year-old Travis Cooke, 49 year-old Ernest Willis, 40 year-old Winston Santos, 21 year-old Jamar Martinez, and 19 year-old Alysson Jones, were all discovered between Thursday night and Saturday afternoon. All 5 men were killed in a bizarre mass murder at their Mapp Caye fishing camp. Their families and law enforcement teams found them one by one in the marine areas around Swallow Caye and Mapp Caye.

The last 2 were discovered on Saturday.

Sr. Supt. Hilberto Romero - Deputy Head, NCIB
"On Saturday 22nd, June, 2019, as a result of ongoing investigations into the 3 bodies that were found previously, police conducted a search and rescue operations with specialized units of the Belize police department, the Coast Guard and family members of the deceased which led to the discovery of 2 bodies behind Mapp Caye in an area near a lagoon. The 2 bodies were identified of those of Alysson Jones and Jamar Martinez."

"Has the post-mortems results been shared with you all as yet?"

Sr. Supt. Hilberto Romero
"Yes we have gotten those results. They all had gunshot injuries."

4 of the victims are from one family, and so understandably, their pain and grief is compounded.

Voice of: Family Members
"It's very hard for the family at the moment, I mean anyone could understand the pain that we are going through right now for having 4 family members passes away at almost the same time. It's a difficult time for the family. My mom lost her son, my sister lost her youngest son, my other sister lost her oldest son and my brother who also passes away within this tragic incident, he lost a nephew as well who is also part of the family. We are grieving and hurting and all we want is answers from the police department. It hit us so hard that all 5 of them are dead."

The family members learned about the killing of their loved ones on the news. The pictures that police released allowed them to recognize the tattoos of the victims.

Voice of: Family Members
"We saw the pictures that channel 7 posted up with the first person that they found that had the tattoo on his chest. That was my nephew. When we saw it we could have immediately identify that that was him, so we call the police and from there we put our search party into action and we started to look for the others."

Police are attempting to find out what happened out at sea, and who it was that stormed into the fishing camp and gunned down all 5 men. During a press conference today, Police Commissioner Chester Williams had a cryptic warning for the general public about cocaine wet drops, and the dangers of seeking them out.

Chester Williams - Commissioner of Police
"Of recent we have been hearing of wet drops and we know that whenever there are rumors of wet drops that people including fishermen tends to comb the seas and beaches with a view to find these illegal substance. I want the public to understand and to take heed to the fact that while they may look at the proceeds of these substances as a means of collection large sums of money that it do come with a risk and so I would want to emphasize to the Belizean people not to be combing the beaches or waterways looking for these substance. These things do come with a cost and some times the cost is your life."

And police suspect at this time that these 5 fishermen may have been killed in connection with that. At this time, it is only speculation, but this photograph, of all these many hundred dollar bills, which was posted on Jamar's facebook page days before his demise, lends some credibility to law enforcement's suspicion at this time.

"It is from a preliminary standpoint that the demise of these 5 individuals may have been related to that kind of activity?"

Chester Williams
"That is the information that we are receiving and it is yet to be confirmed and there is also a picture` that was on social media with one of the deceased showing off with a large sum of money. It is believed that that maybe one of the reasons behind it."

"When you are in possession of large sums of money, please don't be showing off on social media with your large sum of money because people are watching and it makes you an easy target."

But, although police say that their investigation is currently leading them down that direction, the family members of the victims are asserting that they were honest, law-abiding citizens.

Voice of: Family Member
"This was an honest fishing trip that my brother who is a certified captain took his other nephews under his wing to take them out to make an honest living. They went last week Friday, because the lobster had open that same Saturday so they went out Friday to go prepare for the lobster season. They have families as usual so it was just to go out there do their lobster thing and come back in and sell and make a living, because they all have families who they need to support."

A few more notes from the family: they are complaining that police had no vessels to aid them in the search for their loved ones this weekend. One family member was very upset that on Saturday, it took the police and the Coast Guard up to 3 hours before they were able to reach to the location where the last 2 of the 5 murder victims were found. They also are complaining that a member of the security forces was taking photographs and video, which both they and 2 police escorts were objecting to. Those pictures somehow ended up Facebook, and the family is aggrieved by that public disclosure.

We also note that two men went missing at Mapp Caye earlier this year - one of them, the watchman, Edinio Humes was found killed on the island. He had been shot to the head. The other two men, including island owner Evan Neal have not been found and are presumed dead. We note that Evan Neal and these five men were neighborhood friends from Lake I and did go to fish together in the past.

Channel 7

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