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Jun 26, 2017

A Teakettle Family’s Anguish: is Markie Mendez Dead?

Markie Menzies

Also in the west, Belmopan Police have solved the three homicides reported in their jurisdiction so far this year. But they may possibly now have another murder on their hands. Twenty-four-year-old Markie Mendez of Teakettle Village disappeared while in the company of friends last Wednesday, and his family is now convinced that he was murdered. But who would want him dead? News Five’s Aaron Humes travelled west looking for answers, but instead found only anguish.

 

Elton Vasquez, Close Friend

“Ih gone, ih dead. I know ih dead. I know ih dead. From the night, the morning I get up I know ih dead.”

 

Sr. Supt. Howell Gillett, O.C. Belmopan Police

“We do suspect foul play, but I do not think we have sufficient evidence to say yes, the person was murdered; it’s an investigation that is ongoing, but it cannot be conclusive that yes, the person was murdered.”

 

Reporter

“So you guys are still treating this case as a missing persons case?”

 

Howell Gillett

Sr. Supt. Howell Gillett

“Investigation, it is better you start from wide and then you narrow down; it’s best you think a murder was committed and then you find out it could be different; so we always try to investigate from the larger scale and narrow down.”

 

Reporter

“So it’s a murder investigation?”

 

Sr. Supt. Howell Gillett

“Yes, that is correct.”

 

Aaron Humes, Reporting

The family and friends of twenty-four year old Markie Mendez, and less so Belmopan Police, are in sad agreement: their son, brother, and friend is gone, deliberately taken away. After five days of fruitless searches, they are convinced they are now looking for a body rather than a living person. But that did not stop them, including Elton Vasquez, who says that search has been extensive.

 

Elton Vasquez

“And we search, we search. And I di search from Wednesday; because the last time Wednesday the man mi deh with me di evening and fah deh di man left and seh ih mi gwein sew ih slippers and dat da weh ih gone; neva see di man again. And we di look, we di look miles and miles eena bush; we mi search every way we could think; when we mi travel weh we mi leel; we travel every way – and dehn bally know every way same way just like we know every way, and we still can’t find the man. But the man seh it; weh paat ih put ah, we wah neva find ah. Dat mean di man no put ah round yah.”

 

Vasquez is obliquely referring to the resident they suspect of committing the murder, who police have not caught up to yet. For Mendez’s mother Verna, the episode is entirely unlike her youngest son.

 

Verna Mendez

Verna Mendez, Mother of Missing Person

“When he left two o’clock Wednesday, he tell me he gwein go fix ih slippers, and I know he dah wah person weh, he never ever sleep out – no kay what he find ih house. And so that night when he no come we get so worried. And from eight the next day I started to call up everybody weh I think he go around, and nobody neva know weh paat ih deh; the last person deh see ah wid da some lee Santos weh all the villagers know. And I think he and Santos and his brother Ernie I think – they were the last person deh see ah wit. And the whole day Wednesday ih noh come, Thursday ih noh come – dat da when we staat to come to the grave. But before that, I noh remember who call – I think it was police who called and said he was found by the grave. And then we came out here but it wasn’t true, it was a false alarm; and when we come [it was] nothing like that; we tell Police – they asked me if I called, I tell them no, I didn’t call. And then so we figure more or less maybe dah mi right yah. And then when we went down there, we found blood to the river; then we found a block with blood; then we found a pants and shirt; then we found his slippers. And the villagers they always knew he was close, so I don’t know.”

 

The villagers, including Markie’s father Pablo, searched fruitlessly along the riverbank, assisted by Police and Coast Guard, who joined in on Sunday after finding less than optimal conditions in the flooded Belize River on Saturday. Sr. Supt. Gillett says that search continues, as does their investigation.

 

Sr. Supt. Howell Gillett

“Several persons were brought in and I believe we have statements in our possession to help guide the investigation; but I don’t want to delve further than that because it could well prejudice the case, which will go to trial in the future; so I don’t want to comment further as to what all we have. What happened, ever since the report was made, we have been doing searches on the land and we have also been on the river, but not diving because of the condition of the water at this time. But since Sunday the water has been better to dive, and I believe yesterday and today we have the Belize Coast Guard with us, to help to try to locate if indeed the person is dead and the body is in the Belize River.”

 

But that is little consolation for Markie’s friends, like Elton Vasquez.

 

Elton Vasquez

Elton Vasquez

“One thing over and over – they say maybe he’s in the river, that they sunk him, but I feel like they buried him.”

 

Reporter

“What would you say to your friend, Markie – you are hoping against hope that he’s still alive; if he is, what would you say to him?”

 

Elton Vasquez

“I noh think ih alive and I would never think he’s alive. I know he’s dead; he would have come about. I know ih dead.  I know ih dead.”

 

Aaron Humes reporting for News Five.

 

Those with knowledge of Mendez’s whereabouts are asked to call his mother Verna at 630-1077 or the Belmopan police station, or the nearest police station in your area.

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