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Dec 19, 2016

Santa Elena grandmother gunned down over land dispute

Paulina Urbelina Suarez

A mother of nine was savagely murdered at her house in Santa Elena, Cayo. The gunman entered her home and unleashed a barrage of bullets that took her life.  Paulina Urbelina Sanchez is sixty-nine- years old; she was killed in front of family members.  A land dispute is said to be at the centre of this horrible murder, made worse because the person who ordered the hit is too close to home.  News Five’s Andrea Polanco went looking for answers today in the west.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Sixty- nine year old Paulina Urbelina Sanchez was gunned down inside her home around 7:30 on Sunday night. A lone gun-man walked through the front door and fired several shots hitting Sanchez. After she fell to the floor he emptied the gun on her. The evidence left behind-from what happened inside the Santa Elena residence here at number five Orange Street off the Loma Luz Boulevard – are traces of blood, broken photo frames and these marks where the bullets shattered the tiles. But before he saw these- Phillip Sosa- Sanchez’s son, heard screams alerting him that something was wrong. Only fifteen minutes before he had seen his mother alive after they spent the entire weekend together – but later that night he found her fighting for her life:

 

Phillip Sosa, Son of deceased

Phillip Sosa

“I came and I drop her and fifteen minutes after that I heard a screaming coming from my mother’s direction and it was my little sister Paulina saying ‘ they killed her, they killed her.’ I couldn’t even find my shirt. I grabbed a slippers and started my vehicle and ran to her house – well I drove. And I saw my mom lying down on her side – her right hand side. I didn’t know exactly what had happened at that moment, so I grabbed her. My little sister helped me.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“She was still alive at that time?”

 

Phillip Sosa

“Her body was not moving right. Her body was warm so I thought I could have saved her but she didn’t make it. All I see was a pond of blood where she was lying. I thought they hit her on her head because I was so frightened. In fifteen minutes they killed my mom and in just fifteen minutes I had left her. When I took her I rushed her to Loma Luz. The doctor took her in and put oxygen but by then she was already dead. It was gun shots.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“How many?”

 

Phillip Sosa

“To be honest they said it was a whole magazine; more than five bullets. But the doctor said that the one that killed her was the one that hit her heart. The bullet that came from one side of her breast and burst right through her heart.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So he just walked up inside the house and shot your mom?”

 

Phillip Sosa

“Well, my little sister was on her way from the shop and this is when she saw this guy. She dropped something and that is when she lost track of him. The only thing she heard is my mom swearing for her life in Spanish, “ Porfavor no me mates” and when she heard it was so fast. So many gun shots in couple seconds and she heard that she dropped her bag and run and the guy was running out of the house.”

After killing Sanchez, the gun man ran from the house and made good his escape in a vehicle. But the crime was witnessed by others – there were at least two family members inside the house. The family says they have no idea who the gun man is but they believe he was hired to do the killing. So who hired him? Allegations are that it is a close family member – a speculation that the family would only allude to. They are devastated that Sanchez– who is said to have limited movements due to multiple strokes – couldn’t defend herself:

 

Phillip Sosa

“This is almost her fifth stroke and she was, honestly, she can hardly help herself because half of her body is just recovering. I had someone doing a lot of therapy for her last year and she was just starting to walk. So, she was almost helpless, you know. And the way how I find her was like she was struggling to run from the guy to go into a room to hide. I think the guy was trying to shoot her to her face and she put her hands and she got a gun shot on her hand.”

Andrea Polanco

“Is this man known to the family?”

 

Phillip Sosa

“Well, to be honest, I don’t think so. He was just a stranger. No one knows who he is. But he was running they say and no one didn’t know what he had done. I know we are going to find out who sent that guy to kill my mom.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So, you believe someone sent him? This isn’t anyone who has problems with your mom?”

 

Phillip Sosa

“I surely believe that someone hired him. Because who wants to kill a poor little lady? It wasn’t a robbery. She is the only one they went for because the guy could have killed my little sister if he wanted and my little niece; but this was just for her.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Now all of this happened inside your family home – how does this settle with the family?”

 

Phillip Sosa

“Well, you know in family we always have a little dispute but I leave to the law. They do their investigation and see what comes out of it. I just hope they find the person behind the scenes because it is not just someone that is gonna come and kill. It wasn’t a robbery. It was more than that but I cannot say no more 04:40

Police say that their investigation also points to the dispute as the cause of the murder. The family land dispute involves this house where Sanchez was killed. It is a matter before the court. While we were told that death threats were made to the family, those threats were never reported to Police. Police are now looking for the man who pulled the trigger.”

 

Richard Rosado

Richard Rosado, OC San Ignacio

“Based on the evidential material available to us at this time, we believe that the motive is based on a land dispute between relatives. We are looking for three persons of interest who can assist us with this investigation.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Now, obviously this man was hired to kill this lady and that is what the family believes; any idea as to the identity of this person who was hired?”

 

Richard Rosado

“Well, we have one person of interest – the gunman who we are looking for and three other persons who may be able to assist us in the investigation. We are still trying to ascertain at this time the identity of the gun man.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Okay. So, now no one detained so far?”

 

Richard Rosado

“We had detained two initially for questioning but they have been released.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Did they ever make any report before?

Richard Rosado

“A report was made by the deceased reference a land dispute between her and her children.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“What about threats on their lives – none?”

 

Richard Rosado

“No we didn’t receive any report of threats, only a report of a land dispute between the deceased and her children.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Now, how confident are you that you are going to be able to solve this murder?”

 

Richard Rosado

“Well, we have several witnesses who have seen the gunman. We have description of the vehicle – the getaway vehicle. And I believe we should soon have footage of where the gunman was seen last. So, we believe that we should get enough evidential material to successfully prosecute the gunman.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Now, this gunman do you believe he is still in Cayo or has he moved out of the district?”

 

Richard Rosado

“We do believe that he is from one of the nearby villages within the Cayo district.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Are you able to share any details on this land dispute?”

 

Richard Rosado

“At this moment I wouldn’t want to discuss the land dispute because I am not sure how sensitive it is so the family.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Is this a matter that is before the courts?”

 

Richard Rosado

“Yes, ma’am. It is before the courts.”

 

Andrea Polanco reporting for News Five.

 

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2 Responses for “Santa Elena grandmother gunned down over land dispute”

  1. belizeaninasia says:

    Imagine! Belize is such a small nation for all this drama. Why don’t the respinsible leaders put in place a system to have more checks and balances in land ownership? Sheeesh!

  2. belizeaninasia says:

    On another note if people find it so easy to commit murder then that’s a sure sign of weak governance. You can’t even be sure justice will be gotten. I just heard Min Castillo proclaim Belize a safe place for the newly sworn in Belizean. Imagine!

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