Rafael Canti - 2nd murder victim in 10 days

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 18, No. 9            February 28, 2008

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Rafael Canti, deceased

For the past six months, he had been working at Segway of Belize and was soon to receive a promotion to General Manager but Rafael Canti, twenty six year old, lost his life in what still remains a mystery. His shirtless body was found by his wife, Elisa Centino at approximately 4:30 a.m., only a few yards away from the entrance of the couple’s one bedroom apartment located on Marina Drive.

    Centino was behind bars at the San Pedro Police Department as the prime suspect since police officers believe that she may have more details as to what transpired the night her common law husband passed away. She was released from police custody with no charges brought against her on Tuesday, February 26th, 2008. Canti was last seen alive on Friday night at around 11:30 p.m. when he was seen running in the San Pablo Area, which is where he lived.

    The official police report states that at around 5:30 a.m. police officers responded to the crime scene. A physical examination conducted by doctors on the scene indicated that Canti had passed away several hours before the discovery was made. Initial investigations gathered at the scene indicate that Rafael had been seen socializing during the night within town on Friday. On Monday, February 25th, Dr. Mario Estradaban, mortician, performed a post mortem examination on Canti’s body and certified the cause of death as Acute Cardial Tamponade Syndrome due to a single stab wound to the heart. Estradaban confirmed that it was not a knife used to inflict the wound and that a sharper edged object was, in fact what had caused the mortal blow. Investigations led police to believe that the incident took place at his residence since the post mortem revealed that the wound would not have allowed Canti to reach home.

    Although, circumstantial evidence is the only reason why Centino is under lock down, reports are that the couple had spent a rocky courtship and had terminated their relationship on several occasions. Luisa Bolon, mother of Canti, spoke to Jacqueline Godwin of Channel 7 News and claims that her son knew that his life would end at a young stage, “Always he told me that he is sorry and his life will be short. And he is always sad when he called me, every day he called me and told me his life will be short. I asked him why he told me that and he said he is just telling me. When he called me he is always sad but maybe he didn’t want to tell me what is the problem and he doesn’t want me to get hurted.” The grieving mother agrees with officers and also believe that Centino knows more than what she is letting on. “I think so [she knows] because like the way how they found my son, it was not on the street, they found him by his door.” Centino on the other hand, insists that on Friday night, she stayed up in wait for her spouse who had not returned home. At the time she found him, she claims to have decided to go look for him and upon opening the door discovered his body.

    Bolon also spoke of her son’s troubled relationship but commented that an incident that occurred a few days ago, could also have been a motive for his murder. “Just three days (ago) he called me and told me that his wife got raped, how a taxi man tried to rape her and then when I heard my son got killed on Friday.” Bolon explained that while Centino and the couple’s baby were on their way to seek medical assistance, the young mother was attacked by the taxi driver who attempted to rape her.

    Whether either incidences are related or not, officers are still trying to piece together what might have transpired. Officer Paulino Reyes, attached to the Criminal Investigations Branch commented that, “It is situation where we need the full cooperation of the public and we believe that somebody out there has to know or have seen something and the only way we can go forward into these investigations is to get the cooperation from the public.”

    The San Pedro Police Department still has their hands full trying to gather enough evidence to incriminate anyone in the murder of Alvaro Galvez, which occurred 10 days before Canti’s body was found. Glavez’s body was found lying face down inside his one bedroom apartment. His bullet riddled body was in a state of decomposition and it is believed that his body may have been found over a day after he was killed. Today, no one has been arrested and charged for that crime but Reyes believes that both incidents (Galvez and Canti murders) are not related. “We believe that there are two separate incidents, nothing to do with each other and nothing to say that the tourists would need to be concerned. However, it is a matter of lot of concerns to us, to have two major incidents in such a short space of time.”

    Anyone that believes that they may have information that will assist the San Pedro Police Department is asked to please call the San Pedro Police Department at (226) 2022 or Crime Stoppers at 0-800-922-TIPS (8477).

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