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Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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On Sunday, January 22nd about 3:18AM, the diarist on duty at the San Pedro Police Station reported hearing prisoners from the cell block calling out for help. Upon checking the cell block area, he observed one of the male prisoners in the middle cell block hanging from his neck. The motionless body was in front of the cell block door. The male person was identified as Eric Gutierrez, 30-year-old Belizean labourer of San Pedro Town. Gutierrez was seen with a white color shirt tied around his neck and then tied to the iron partition of the cell block above the cell door.

Investigation revealed that Gutierrez was detained at 3:05am for the crime of Harm as a report was made against him by his ex-common law wife, where doctor certified her injuries as Harm. He was placed in the middle cell block along with another male prisoner. The body was removed and transported to the Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro Polyclinic II, where the doctor pronounced it dead at 4:27AM.

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Marty Offline OP
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Suicide In Cell Block

Tragedy struck the San Pedro police station's cell block this weekend when a 30-year-old Eric Guitterez took his own life while in custody.

Guitterez had been arrested and charged at around 3:05am on Sunday morning for causing harm to his ex-common law wife who had made a report against him. Less than 90 minutes later, he was found dead.

Tonight, his death is raising questions about the duty of care owed to him by the police department and whether they failed in that duty. Here's more on the circumstances behind Guitterez's death in custody from ASP Fitzroy Yearwood.

ASP Fitzroy Yearwood, Communications Officer
"Sometime around 3:25 the diarist on duty at the San Pedro Police station heard other prisoners screaming for help, when he went to the cellblock area he saw a male prisoner that was detained around 3:08 who was then Identified as Eric Guitterez 30 year old, um, hanging from a white, what appeared to be a white T-Shirt, it was tied around his neck and affixed to the Metallic area above the cell block door of the cell block area. He was immediately taken down and they tried to how to say bring him back but it was too late, we know that, um, Guitterez was transported to the San Pedro polyclinic where he was pronounced dead by a medical officer."

Cherisse Halsall:
"Sir did your officers fail in their duty of care to this gentleman?"

ASP Fitzroy Yearwood, Communications Officer
"I wouldn't be so quick to say that, this person was detained sometime around 3:08 and we don't normally take away the T-shirt that you are wearing from you. We would take away your belt, laces, and so forth. He was placed in a cell with another prisoner and that prisoner was the one that alerted the officers. This is within a span of 10 minutes. Normally or ordinarily our officers would check on prisoners every 30 minutes, um, like I said he was detained for harm from a report that was made by his ex-common law. Suicide is something very difficult to stop because if that person's mind is made up it's made up. Our officer did the right thing by responding immediately when he heard the screams from other prisoners and, um, like I said they tried their best to see what they could have done to save his life but it was too late."

Yearwood added that upon an arrest the department's policy is to remove all elements from detained persons that they could use to inflict self harm. He was a regular prescient in the police holding cell, we are told.

Channel 7


Man Hangs Self in San Pedro Minutes after Detention for Domestic Incident

A man reportedly killed himself inside the San Pedro cellblock in the wee hours of Sunday, just minutes after he was detained for a domestic incident with his common-law-wife that morning. The police say they were alerted of the incident by other inmates in the cellblock. But while police are saying it was suicide, the man's spouse doubts that report. News Five's Marion Ali was in San Pedro and filed the following report.

Marion Ali, Reporting

Thirty-year-old Eric Gutierrez, a labourer at Mahogany Bay Resort in San Pedro, is dead after he reportedly took his life while in police custody at the San Pedro Police Station. Police say they were alerted of the incident only minutes after Gutierrez' detention on Sunday morning and that when they responded, he was already unresponsive in the cellblock.

ASP Fitzroy Yearwood, Communications Director, Belize Police Department

"Sometime around three-fifteen, the diarist on duty at the San Pedro Police Station heard other prisoners screaming for help. When he went to the cellblock area he saw a male prisoner that detained around three-O-eight who was then identified as Eric Gutierrez, thirty-year-old hanging from what appeared to be a white T- shirt. It was tied around his neck and affixed to the metallic area above the cell block door in the middle cell."

The police department's Communications Director, A.S.P Fitzroy Yearwood said that C-P-R was administered but to no avail and Gutierrez was rushed to San Pedro Polyclinic where he was pronounced dead. Yearwood explained that while the police remove everything they believe detainees can use to harm themselves, the T-shirts they are wearing is not one of those things.

A.S.P. Fitzroy Yearwood

"We don't normally take away your T-shirt that you're wearing from you. We would take away your belt, laces and so forth. He was placed in a cell with another prisoner and that other prisoner was the one that alerted the officers. This is within a span of less than ten minutes. They tried their best to see what they could have done to save his life. It would also be inhumane if we take away your shirt and pants and have you in a cell naked. Suicide is something very difficult to stop."

Gutierrez was detained pending a charge of harm that was filed by his ex-common-law wife that morning. But today, she told us off record that they, like any other couple, had their challenges, but nothing out of the ordinary. She said that she did not feel that the T-shirt he was wearing was long enough for him to use to hang himself. Gutierrez, according to sources in San Pedro, had been in trouble with the law before his detention on Sunday morning, but Yearwood said that police brutality was ruled out from the get-go.

A.S.P Fitzroy Yearwood

"We have our investigators on the scene from the discovery of his body and of course that was already ruled out. Like I said, it's an unfortunate case that took place in our cellblock. We are not just brushing away. We have to investigate everything."

Yearwood said that a statement was also recorded from Gutierrez' cellmate and there's no indication that he was involved in the death. Marion Ali for News Five.

Channel 5


Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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Family shocked following his death at SP police cell; who was Eric Gutierrez

Although his death was ruled a suicide, the family of 30-year-old Eric Gutierrez is waiting to hear the results of a post-mortem to determine the cause of their relative's death. On Sunday, January 22nd, Gutierrez was detained by San Pedro police for a domestic crime. His lifeless body was later found hanging from the neck inside the holding cell. While Gutirrez was well-known in the community, he also had brushes with the law.

In the police official report, Gutierrez was detained just after 3AM for the crime of Harm after a statement from his ex-common law wife. According to the report, he was placed in a holding cell with another male prisoner. At Around 3:18AM, the police reported hearing prisoners calling for help. They say that after checking the cell block, they observed Gutierrez hanging. He was seen with a white shirt tied around his neck and tethered to the iron portion of the cell door. His death was ruled as a suicide.

After speaking with his partner, she shared that it's hard to believe Gutierrez took his own life. She believes Gutierrez did not commit suicide and hopes the post-mortem will reveal the cause of death. The shaken woman added that although she and Gutierrez had misunderstandings, he was happy and ready to help others. A close acquaintance of the deceased stated that Gutierrez was a hard-working problem solver, and committing suicide was far from his mind. Gutierrez's body was transported to the mainland, where a post-mortem is scheduled.

Click here to read the rest of the article in the San Pedro Sun


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