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Jan 27, 2005

9 year old girl murdered in Dangriga

Story PictureThe civil strife now affecting the nation tends to push any other news out of the headlines. But while the unions, civil society and government wrangled in Belize City and Belmopan, Dangriga was the scene of a horrendous crime. News 5′s Jacqueline Woods has just returned to our studios with the following report.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting
This blood splattered cement block is what police believe the killer used to smash nine year old Claudia Ramirez?s head. It is not certain if the little girl was raped, but her underwear and a slipper were found just a short distance from where it is believed she was murdered on a deserted farm situated just behind the Ramirez residence. At the scene authorities came across a trail among the dried leaves and branches that they believe was made by the killer as he dragged his young victim for several yards before throwing the child into a crocodile infested river. Police say they do not believe the little girl was dead when she was thrown into the murky water and may have died by drowning.

Claudia Yuliza Ramirez was the only daughter of Rubilca Ramirez and her stepfather Tulio Mancilla Castillo. Ramirez says the last time she saw her daughter alive was around six on Wednesday evening.

Rubilca Ramirez, Mother
?She was playing in the yard and she went to get a broom from a next house in the yard and when I looked around she disappeared. I do not know where my daughter went. I was making tortilla at the time. I hollered for Yuliza, Yuliza but nothing. My daughter left to give the broom to a young man who is a family acquaintance and I told her do not take long but she did not return. But after sometime I saw the young man and I asked him if he had seen Claudia but he told me no.?

The Ramirez family and neighbours frantically searched for the little girl but she could not be found.

Beverly Bermudez, Neighbour/ Friend
?So we told her not to worry maybe she is just playing around with some of the other kids around the area. But she was hysterical and she was so frightened. So we told her to go to the police and so we us that she can?t go to the police right now because she has other little kids at home and she was so worried about them. But a little while after we saw her run to the police. When she came back we asked if she found her and she said no.?

It was the little girl?s parents who found their daughter?s lifeless body floating face down in the water. Young Ramirez had a severe bruise to the side of the head and there was blood coming from the nose.

Justo Augustine, O.C.,Dangriga Police Station
?So far the police have been able to detain three persons in respect to this investigation and they are being interrogated right now to see if exactly if they were involved or if they know anything about the incident.?

?We are hopeful that we will find the perpetrator of that crime and bring him to justice.?

Norene Castillo, Neighbor/Friend
?They no got no consciousness. They no got no feelings fi mek they hurt somebody like that.?

Beverly Bermudez
?When we got up this morning that was the thing that shook us up this morning. It was so, so terrible the way how it happened knowing that it occurred right in front of her. Just imagine. So we know that it?s somebody who is near because it can?t be somebody far. It?s right from here to over there. It was sad. It was so sad and for me, I know I will keep my kids them with me.?

Jacqueline Woods for News Five

Sources tell News 5 that the investigation is now focussing on a seventeen year old who is among those being detained in Dangriga.

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