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Joined: Oct 1999
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Mother of Two Executed, But Mirza Had A Tangled Tale

A 31-year-old mother of two was gunned down on Saturday night in a small village, el Progreso, off the Mountain Pine Ridge Road. She was ding the dishes in restaurant kitchen - when a gun man strode in, asked no questions, shot her dead, and left.

A stunning end - for a story that may have started many years ago in San Pedro where Morales common-law-husband, Mario Graniel was also executed - along with tourist, Dr Gary Swank - in a murder that rocked Belize.

Tonight, we're taking you to the quiet corner of Belize that Mirsa Morales and her children may have chosen as their safe haven after that. Cherisse Halsall reports:

This quiet street corner of El Progresso village became a crime scene on Saturday night when two armed men on motorcycles may have come to kill 31-year-old Mirsa Morales.

This was the second attack on the home because it had been burglarised two weeks earlier but on that occasion, the intended target wasn't at home this time she was.

Eyewitnesses to the crime say that when the men exited the house they fired shots into the air before speeding off down the road toward Georgeville.

This morning ACP Hilberto Romero picked up the story from the point of the police's arrival at 9:25 - about 10 minutes after it happened

ACP Hilberto Romero, OC, Eastern Division
"Upon arrival they saw the motionless body of Mirsa Morales, 31 years with gunshot injuries to the body, she was taken to the Western regional hospital where she was pronounced dead on arrival information is that Mirsa was in the kitchen area of a restaurant she operates when a motorcycle arrived in the area with two male persons, one of the male persons approached her in the kitchen and fired several shots in her direction causing her fatal injuries."

She was clearly targeted; there was no robbery and no one else harmed. But to find the answer for why a restaurant and bar owner would be targeted while washing dishes you have to go back to San Pedro in June of 2019.

That's where Mirsa's storied past from San Pedro takes on a Telenovela twist: a beautiful young woman in a relationship with an older man, Mario Graniel who is also executed in dramatic fashion.

Chester Williams, Commissioner Of Police
"When the murder of Dr Swank and Mr Graniel took place in San Pedro, the name of the now deceased was prevalent in that investigation, I am not going to go into details in terms of how that came about but the public would know that she may have been in a relationship with Mr Graniel at that particular time and now that she is a deceased person and the victim of murder we believe that the same persons who were behind Mr Graniel's murder and Dr Swank are the ones who are responsible for her murder."

And it was sometime after Graniel's death that Morales and her two children made thier way the quiet village of El Progresso on the Pine Ridge Road where she opened a restaurant and bar, La Casona, Spanish for the big house.

She told a friend that she didn't need to work and that she was only running the bar to build up a work ethic in her 14-year-old daughter.

Jules Vasquez:
"With the players involved Mr Commissioner would you say that there is a NARCO element? We know that with Mr Graniel there was a NARCO element, or reported to be a Narco element. Might those same personalities involved in that have been involved in this one?"

Chester Williams, Comissioner Of Police
"We are not going to say definitely that there is one but the is a perception that there is but we can't confirm at this time."

The cops say that Christian Espat, who is Mirsa Morales's ex, and a man who was once the prime suspect in the death of Mario Graniel is now a person of interest in her murder.

Chester Williams, Comissioner Of Police
"It seems so far from the investigation she was murdered by someone who knew her and knew her well."

Jules Vasquez:
"Then the reports say that she ended up with Mr Christian Espat who was a person of interest in the investigation, um, is he a person of interest in this investigation?"

Chester Williams, Comissioner Of Police
"Certainly yes, he is a person of interest in this matter."

We also spoke to El Progresso's village Chairman. He was against Morales getting the liquor license she needed to continue running La Casona because he says the establishment was responsible for a lot of noise and bad behaviour in the area. We asked the Chairman what he thought of an execution in his small and peaceful village:

Cherisse Halsall:
"Were you shocked?"

Moses Waight, Village Chairman
"Well, a little bit. I mean I kind of had a little bit of background of the person so I kind of got a little bit of news about whatever you know maybe someday what was going to happen in that business because of you know the background that she had you know so I knew that maybe anytime something was even either her or maybe even a customer drinking because sometimes there are altercations in that area."

We also asked the chairman what he thinks about the fact that Mirsa had sent her children away at the start of the weekend.

Moses Waight, Village Chairman
"I didn't. Know the kids weren't there I thought the kids were in the building, well maybe she knew, I believe, I don't know."

As you heard, the cops say no one has been detained but they have persons of interest and the investigation extends to San Pedro.

Mirza's Ex Claims Innocence In Her Murder, Shows Police He was Out of Country

Last night's headline was about the murder of mother of two, Mirza Morales. The restaurant and bar owner was killed inside the kitchen of her restaurant at the 7 Miles community of El Progresso on the one Ridge Road. She was targeted by a gunman who just strode in and shot her multiple times - no one else was injured and nothing was stolen.

It was a ruthless and precise execution, and yesterday the Commissioner of Police said Mirza's ex, well known San Pedro figure Cristian Espat was a person of interest in the investigation.

Well, he heard that and turned himself into SAN PEDRO police with his lawyer today to declare his innocence. He told investigators he was out of the country with his girlfriend seeing a doctor at the time of the murder. He reportedly told police he has the passport stamps to prove he was away.

He added that he and Moralez broke up in December of 2021 and had moved on.

His NEW common law also spoke to police. She told her story to the San Pedro Sun outside the police station - asking to appear off camera:

Voice Of: Christian Espat's Common Law
"Well first of all I want the public, the media and Chester Williams to know that we didn't come to cry. We didn't come to complain. We came to fight for our rights because this is a total defamation of character that you guys did well generally right."

"He was not even in the country when this incident happened. He was out of the country, how do I know I was with him all this time, what he went to do is to deal with some family stuff and seek medical attention which we have proof evidence all of that we have. So, how can a person be in two countries at the same time?"

"They to start everybody takes their own paths they were doing their own lives and it just doesn't make sense."

"So just because he was a person of interest doesn't mean he was associated with anything or the deceased person but we. Will not go into further details we will, that is why he has his lawyer and we will leave it in God's hands."

Despite those clear declarations of innocence, this evening, Christian Espat remains in custody.

Eyewitnesses say that after the murder, two dark-skinned men on a motorcycle drove off towards the George Price Highway.

Channel 7

Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,400
Marty Offline OP
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Christian Espat, person of interest in Morales murder, hands himself over to Police

Just after 2PM, on Tuesday, May 30th, Christian Espat walked into the San Pedro Police Station and handed himself over to the authorities after hearing he was a person of interest in the murder of his ex-partner Mirza Morales. Espat was accompanied by his common-law wife, parents, and an attorney. He stated that he handed himself in in an effort to clear his name, as he had nothing to do with Morales' execution.

Espat's partner adds that it is unfair to try to link her husband with the murder of Morales, particularly as he has had no communication with her in years. She explained that after they broke up in December 2021, Espat and Morales never kept in touch. "They were living their own lives," she said. "Just because he had a relationship with her does not mean he is associated with what happened to the deceased." She added that this is why he willingly turned himself in to the police, to prove his innocence.

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

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