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May 3, 2017

What Happened to Pamela Lino?

Pamela Lino

Belmopan teacher, Pamela Lino, is still missing tonight. Her vehicle, a Kia Sportage, was found burnt on the Gracie Rock junction on the George price Highway early on Tuesday morning. Charred remains found inside are inconclusive as to the identity of the person that was travelling in the vehicle when it went up in flames. Police have no suspects but say they are looking at all angles. News Five’s Isani Cayetano today visited Lino’s homes in Belmopan and Santa Elena and spoke with relatives and students who are fearing the worst.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Pamela Lino, an Information Technology instructor at Belmopan Baptist High School, has been missing since Monday evening, following the discovery of a sports utility vehicle registered in her name.  The Kia Sportage was headed in the direction of Belize City in the wee early hours of Tuesday when upon reaching the checkpoint near the Hattieville Police Station the driver made a u-turn.  That abrupt change in course prompted officers to pursue the vehicle along the George Price Highway towards Belmopan.  By the time they rounded the curve near mile twenty-one, the SUV was already engulfed in flames.  Little did they know at the time of the fire that someone inside was meeting a blistering end.  That individual, though unconfirmed, is strongly believed to be the missing teacher.

 

Voice of: Relative of Pamela Lino

“At this time my family, our family, Pamela’s is coping with the potential loss of a family member.  We are not certain as yet because no positive identification has been made.”

 

Despite finding charred skeletal remains of what appears to be a person inside the vehicle, as well as Lino’s unexplained disappearance, her loved ones, including colleagues at the secondary school, remain optimistic.  That brightness, however, appears to be fading quickly.

 

Jerry Roberts

Jerry Roberts, Principal, Belmopan Baptist High School

“We have greeted the news with tremendous concern.  This is a time of tremendous confusion in many ways.  It is out of character for Ms. Lino to not be in school.  She was very dedicated and committed to her responsibilities here at Belmopan Baptist High School.  We must say that there is a lot of news that’s floating out there and one of the challenges is to remain focused on what is important.”

 

Coming to grips with what may have transpired on Tuesday morning is indeed a challenge in and of itself.  Those rumors, however, remain persistent.  It is believed that Lino’s burnt remains were retrieved from the hulk of the vehicle and that she suffered a cruel end at the hands of someone else who may have been traveling along with her at the time of the incident.

 

Voice of: Relative of Pamela Lino

“At this time Isani, what I can share with you is that I believe what has been in the public space last night on the news as to what the police have shared with us.  The issue is that we have a family member that might be a potential victim of a crime, of a murder, a homicide.  Like I said, that is not confirmed because as we understand it there has been no positive identification.  Other than that, police is continuing its work to search and find evidence at the home, at Pamela’s home in Santa Elena.”

 

That residence in the Hill View area of Santa Elena has reportedly been the subject of much controversy.  It is alleged that Lino has been embroiled in a bitter dispute over ownership of the property.  Many are of the firmly held opinion that it may have been the cause of her demise.  Nonetheless, an investigation by police into the matter remains open.

 

Voice of: Relative of Pamela Lino

“They’re continuing their DNA sampling and so we expect that they will be giving us information shortly.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“When was the last time you guys saw Pamela and secondly, has there been a missing person’s report filed in her absence?”

 

Voice of: Relative of Pamela Lino

“No.  To answer the second question first, no.  There has not been a missing person report filed.  The last time I personally spoke to Pamela was sometime last week, early last week I believe it was.  But I do have reports from family members and friends who have spoken to her as late as Monday night, Monday evening at one o’clock.”

 

In the wake of her disappearance, residents have told News Five that Lino’s home on Oriole Street, in Belmopan, has been visited by friends and family.  Those calls have been fruitless.  Inside her homeroom at One Glory, Lino’s first form students have eulogized her, despite not knowing the official outcome of the ongoing investigation.

 

Jerry Roberts

“I must say that we have been very challenged in terms of fortifying our staff and our students in the midst of all that is happening.  One of the conscious efforts that we have made is that we brought in counselors, as well as officials from the Ministry of Education, through the Belmopan office, with Mrs. Gwen Nunez-Gonzalez.  They were here this morning to offer counseling and more so to be able to offer words of consolation and strength to our teachers, as well as to our students to equip us with those necessary coping skills.”

 

The unexplained death of the individual inside the vehicle has left more questions than answers, a few that the Belize Police Department should also be responding to.  The distance in which the officers gave chase and the location where the vehicle came to scorching rest is approximately five or six miles.  By the time the pursuing officers came upon the vehicle, which was presumably a short time later, it was consumed by fire.  Could it have happened that fast?  Was the vehicle deliberately lit on fire by another occupant?  If the case is being treated as a homicide, are they looking at Lino’s rocky past as a possible motive for her disappearance or demise? Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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