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May 5, 2017

Police Make Arrests, But Kidnapping Victims in Corozal Still Wary

Eliazar & Eder Hall

Corozal police have detained two of four men accused of robbery and kidnapping and are seeking two others. Twenty-three-year-old Jason Espinosa and forty-five-year-old Elio Lopez handed over a bag containing a gold chain and ring stolen from twenty-six-year-old Eder Stevenson Hall of Corozal Town, while Lopez handed over six thousand, five hundred dollars, half of the thirteen thousand stolen during the incident reported on Wednesday. Still at large are Jeffery Gongora and Brian Espinosa, the brother of Jason Espinosa. On Thursday, we brought you the incredible story of Eder and his older brother Eliazar of Chan Chen village, who along with Emil Rosado of Ranchito, were targeted during what should have been a routine transaction over a vehicle. It turned into a life and death struggle that fortunately ended in favour of the Hall brothers and Rosado. News Five visited with the Hall brothers in Corozal Town and Aaron Humes has the story.

 

Aaron Humes, Reporting

Corozal police, already facing immense scrutiny in the double murder of a Canadian-American couple last week, acted quickly in the case of brothers Eder and Eliazar Hall of Corozal Town and a third man from Ranchito village. The men accuse Jeffrey Gongora; brothers Brian and Jason Espinosa, and a fourth man, Elio Lopez, among possible others, of luring them to Ranchito on Wednesday under the pretence of buying a vehicle; stealing their money and valuables, then setting off to kill them to dispose of the evidence.

 

Eliazar Hall, Robbery/Kidnapping Victim

“[That is] where we are focused now, awaiting news. We just want to hear news that they grabbed those four guys wanted, which attempted [to take] our lives. Because right now I am very afraid, I am nervous; I’m afraid those guys send other people or come to us before the court action begins, because they will try to hurt us – I don’t know – or make us not want to do the court action, make us more afraid; I don’t know.”

 

The apprehension the brothers share is understandable, if you recall that all they expected was to test out a vehicle that Eder says he saw in Corozal Town last week.

 

Reporter

“Did you at any point feel anything was awry or amiss; had you met this guy before, spoken to him before?”

 

Eder Hall, Robbery/Kidnapping Victim

“No, not really. We didn’t expect anything like that to happen. It was like everything happened so fast and we didn’t have any opportunity to defend ourselves or anything like that, so it’s not like we knew the person or anything. My worker, he’s from that same village so he knew the person – before I went over there, I went to pick him up and I asked him if he can show me where that guy lives. Because I met him like one week before, I got his number and called him for the vehicle, to ask him about how much he was asking for the vehicle.”

 

That vehicle, a grey Nissan Xterra, became the vehicle the robbers/kidnappers used to clear the road as they herded their captives out of Ranchito and down the Philip Goldson Highway. The armed quartet made clear that they intended to kill the men and dump their bodies near the river in Libertad, after unintentionally showing their faces while preparing to transport them. They were foiled when the trio escaped in Calcutta village, Eliazar having gotten help to reach police. Eder, meanwhile, cut away his bonds with a razor unseen by their attackers. Both told us it could have all gone quite differently.

 

Eliazar Hall

Eliazar Hall

“It was the worst experience of my life, because I actually saw death closer than I imagine to my body. And just like how my brother said, thank God, because it was a day when I came out of my home, I left from my family expecting I would come back in a few minutes or an hour time. Like how my brother said the plan was just to go and try – if the vehicle was in good condition, if he was satisfied with the vehicle, we just purchase it and come back home. We never expected this guy had some really bad intentions to our [person.]”

 

Now, as police hunt Gongora and Espinoza, the brothers wonder if this hasn’t happened before – and put their faith in police to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

 

Eder Hall

Eliazar Hall

“Just advise people to be very [careful]. We were never expecting things [to] happen like that; I think in the way those guys performed their way to us, it looked like those guys it was not the first time they put bait to hurt people or kill people; because they were going to kill us. Because we actually – they came out first with a shirt covering their face but during the kidnapping action, the shirt came off their face and after when they got us tied, they removed their shirt.”

 

Eder Hall

“We saw their faces; we saw their faces perfectly, all of them so we recognize them. If you’re going to bring them in front of me, I’m going to say I can personally assure you, one thousand percent, that it’s them, because these were the persons that were going to take my life.”

 

Aaron Humes reporting for News Five.

 

This afternoon police returned part of the money stolen from the Halls and a ring and gold chain recovered from one of the detainees, as well as the Infiniti vehicle that the brothers were stashed in before their daring escape. The Nissan Xterra SUV was later found abandoned at a farm near Camp One in Shipyard, Orange Walk. Police retrieved a black Smith and Wesson brand point-forty-five pistol along with a magazine containing three live rounds from the vehicle.   

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