Alleged Murderers Back in Court
This morning twenty-two year old Noe Gonzalez, nineteen year old Angel Cardenas and twenty-eight year old Mateo Pott were escorted back to the Orange Walk Magistrate’s Court. On July ninth the trio were formally charged for the murder of seventy-one year old Ramon Cervantes. One day after, they were charged for his kidnapping. The three men, and one man who is on the run, are also believed responsible for the kidnapping and murder of forty-six year old Sonia Maribel Abac, though more than a month after her decomposed body was found no charges have been levied. It has been an emotional time for the families of the victims, who believe that justice is being denied. They were in front of the courtroom today as the alleged killers were led in. Mike Rudon was there and has the story.
Mike Rudon, Reporting
At exactly nine o’clock this morning, eight prisoners were escorted into the Orange Walk Magistrate’s Court, among them Noe Gonzalez, Mateo Pott and Angel Cardenas. They are accused of the kidnapping and murder of prominent Orange Walk businessman and cane-farmer Ramon Cervantes Sr. His battered body was discovered in a shallow grave on a farm off the Honey Camp road on July fifth, less than a week after he was reported missing. The three men who appeared in court this morning led Police to his body. They also led Police to the body of forty-six year old Sonia Abac. Her decomposed remains were discovered on July ninth, thrown in a well just a few hundred feet from the shallow grave of Cervantes. The families of the victims have struggled to cope with the grief. Abac’s family has come to Orange Walk from Guatemala to offer Police any assistance they can in punishing those responsible for her senseless murder and securing justice in her memory, and for those left behind.
Pablo Abac, Brother of Sonia Abac (Translated)
“We come to Belize from Guatemala seeking justice so that the murder of my sister does not go unresolved. My sister was a good person. She liked Belize. She used to come here to work and not do harm. Through this medium we would like to ask the police to do justice since some men have already been captured. And also so that the murder of Sonia is not forgotten.”
Ramon Cervantes Jr., Son of Ramon Cervantes Sr.
“You know it’s hard, because my father was taken away from us violently before his time and also we have to keep on moving, we have to keep on working seeing that employees get paid, that customers get served. We have to keep on living a normal life. It’s hard but a lot of people are supporting us in many ways and that’s what is keeping us up, you know, gives us the strength to go on every day. This is not just justice for us, but for everyone else. We see it happening in Belize City and all over.”
Only a small group stood outside the courtroom this morning. There was no noise, no unruly protest…just a quiet demand for justice – a plea to the Police and to the authorities for the deaths of their loved ones to not be forgotten.
Sylvia Gillett, Community Activist
“We strongly believe that other persons could have been charged. They keep saying that they’re gathering evidence. How long is it going to take them to gather the evidence? It’s over a month, going on two months. We need justice. The justice system is failing…and crime is pouring out to all the districts. We see the rise in crime here in Orange Walk. Early one morning a young man was shot from Corozal here in Orange Walk. And if we don’t get proper investigation and proper justice we will never free the country and the different districts of the crimes happening…and that is what we want. We want justice.”
The violent deaths of Cervantes and Abac shocked the close knit community of Orange Walk. And for many it is not over. There is word of a list which was found during the Cervantes investigation containing the names of prominent Orange Walk businessmen targeted for kidnapping.
Ramon Cervantes Jr.
“I heard about a list. I haven’t seen a list. It’s something just that the Police told me and high officers in the Police told me. I haven’t seen it. I have heard out there that I am next. But you know I fear the face of no man nor his skin. I only fear God and I will live my life as normal as I can and whoever wants to try to kill me…I’m as ready as I can be, but only God knows my future. You know I won’t let many decide my future. I am afraid of no man, only God.”
The trial of Noe Gonzalez, Angel Cardenas and Mateo Pott was adjourned. They will be escorted back to court on September seventeenth. Mike Rudon reporting for News Five.
News Five has been informed that Police are only awaiting the instructions of the D.P.P. to charge the men for the kidnapping and murder of Sonia Abac. They also continue to hunt for Manuel ‘El Pelon’ Castillo, believed to be the mastermind of the ring of alleged killers. He and his common-law-wife, Avicela Duran, are believed to be in Mexico or Guatemala.