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Apr 4, 2017

Baptist Pastor Killed in Esperanza

Florencio Guillermo Bardalez

There have been heinous murders in the west since the start of the year and tonight, the murder count went up by one. The latest victim is a seventy-nine-year-old pastor from San Ignacio. The brutal beating of Florencio Guillermo Bardalez has left the community in disbelief. On Monday, the soon to be octogenarian, a Pastor of the Baptist Church, was doing what he loved – farming – when he was bashed in the face and head and left to die at his farm in Esperanza. At this time, police say they have one man detained, but they don’t know what led to the killing. News Five’s Andrea Polanco was out west today and has the latest on this homicide.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Seventy-nine year old Pastor Florencio Guillermo Bardalez, better known as ‘Pastor B,’ was beaten and killed on this farm in Esperanza Village sometime on Monday. As leader of this Baptist Church in San Ignacio, Pastor B was well-known, respected and loved by the community. The murder of this upstanding, law-abiding citizen has left the community in shock.

 

Earl Trapp

Earl Trapp, Mayor, San Ignacio/Santa Elena

“Indeed, he was an outstanding citizen of this municipality. I have known Mister Bardalez for many years now and since I’ve known him, he has been that exemplary and outstanding citizen of this town. I know that he has been a part of the Baptist Church and he pastored several services as well. And he was very much instrumental in the development of that particular church.  Very much law-abiding citizen. Never in problems; as a matter of fact he was there helping. This was definitely shocking to me when Supt. Rosado sent me the information last night that this crime was committed and they found him dead on his farm. So, it was definitely shocking to me and left the community with our mouths open.”

 

Pastor B’s body was discovered lying under an orange tree here on his farm on Monday night just before eight – he had injuries to the face and the back of the head. A piece of stick and a stone –believed to be the objects used to commit the murder – were found next to him. Around eight Monday morning, he came out here to work as he would normally do but he never returned that evening – a search led to his body later that night. Pastor B would come here to reap his fruits to take to in town to sell.  It is believed that he had picked these tamarind in the back of his truck shortly before he was killed.

 

Andrea Polanco

“Sir, I am not sure if you are able to share, but what kind of work was he doing on the farm when he was killed?”

 

Daniel Iche

ASP Daniel Iche, Acting O.C., San Ignacio Police

“What we noticed is that there are some tambran inside a bucket; so he may have been picking some tambran.”

 

Earl Trapp

“I know he was a farmer. He had his farm in Esperanza Village. And basically, I always saw him coming from his farm with the products he produced there. You know, and right at his house he would put coconuts, oranges and different products he grew on his farm and he would sell it at a very reasonable price. You know, something that the general public could afford. So, he was certainly there for the people.”

 

But someone wanted Pastor B dead. So, why kill an elderly harmless man who was helpful to his community? Mayor Trapp says he is sure that Pastor B didn’t do anything wrong – as a matter of fact, he believes the reason Pastor B was killed is because of the very same farm he worked on and loved. On previous occasions, Pastor B spoke of people stealing his produce – so is that a possible connection to his murder?

 

Earl Trapp

“I can tell you off-hand; I can almost put my head on the block that certainly it wasn’t something wrong that he had done to anyone. Today, things are getting hard and things will continue to get harder. I hope it doesn’t get to the point where it will be survival of the fittest. People will start to kill you for your own goods. I am certain that this is what happened. He found – if it was one or more than one person, he found these people on his farm stealing his goods and because he knew them, I am certain that this is what happened. They killed him for his own things; his own products.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So, you don’t think he was killed by strangers – randomly?”

 

Earl Trapp

“No, no, no.  This, as a matter of fact, I have had the privilege of talking to this man on several occasions when I worked at B.T.L. – I used to fix phones and I used to pass by his house and we used to have communication and he would tell me, “Mister Trapp, yes, these are the products from my farm and it is a daily struggle. People are always stealing my goods.”  I believe this one time, with the way I understand they found him, his killer knew him and that is the reason why they got rid of him. I spoke to his daughter this morning as well and she was telling me that he had always complained of people thieving his goods and he always caught them. And I think this time he caught them empty-handed and they decided to do away with him.”

 

Police have one man detained from the Esperanza area. The motive of the murder? They have none at this time – but initial investigation, while still early, doesn’t point to robbery. The Police hope to get the public’s assistance to help solve this murder.

 

Andrea Polanco

“Anything to suggest that maybe, some other time, a previous time when he visited the farm that someone tried to attack him or relieve him of his personal belongings?”

 

ASP Daniel Iche

“No. We don’t have that information.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Did the family indicate if anything that he owned was missing?”

 

ASP Daniel Iche

“Not at this time.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Any monies? Nothing?”

 

ASP Daniel Iche

“No.”

 

Reporter

“Were there any misunderstandings or anything?”

 

ASP Daniel Iche

“There may have been some misunderstandings in the past.”

 

Florencio Guillermo Bardalez

Reporter

“Does the suspect have any connection to those misunderstandings?”

 

ASP Daniel Iche

“No.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Is there anything missing from the farm?”

 

ASP Daniel Iche

“According to the family members it doesn’t appear so.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So, the motive doesn’t appear to be robbery?”

 

ASP Daniel Iche

“No. Because his vehicle was still parked on the farm.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

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