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Apr 14, 2003

Mennonite murdered mafia style; shot in head

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In Belize, the Mennonite community is respected as a group of hardworking men and women, deeply religious with no inclination towards violence. Sadly, it is perhaps that very attitude towards life that makes them easy targets to those who would prey on the vulnerable. So it is even more shocking then to report on one member of the close knit community of Spanish Lookout that has a history of threatening behaviour, a criminal record…and who was ambushed on a lonely road and shot once in the head.

Margaret Wolfe, Wife

“It’s very hard for us. And especially for the three girls, they just can’t take it.”

Margaret Wolfe says her husband, forty-four-year-old Bernard Wolfe, left their home just before seven on Saturday morning to drive to his sawmill, located twenty miles northwest of Spanish Lookout in an area known as Green Hills. The family claims Wolfe more one thousand dollars in his wallet, money he would use to pay his workers. The Wolfe family believes that when Bernard stopped along the deserted road to fix something on the trailer hooked to the back of his Mitsubishi L200 pickup, he was ambushed.

Jacqueline Woods

“Bernard Wolfe was one mile away from his sawmill when he stopped at this location to unhitch the trailer. He got out of the pickup, climbed into the pan of his vehicle, and that was when he was attacked.”

Margaret Wolfe

“He was shot in the front of the head. And they say he had a shot right behind his ear too, and it was with different shotguns.”

Jacqueline Woods

“So you believe there was more than one person involved?”

Margaret Wolfe

“I think so. They say the front is a shotgun and the one here, it was a pistol.”

Margaret Wolfe believes her husband’s murder was the result of a robbery, as the family claims the money and a cell phone were stolen from Wolfe’s body.

Insp. Gilroy Nicholas, Officer Commanding, San Ignacio

“Right now we are totally at a lost, because the people who are likely to help us have fled the country, so we have nothing coming forth.”

Inspector Gilroy Nicholas, the officer in charge of the San Ignacio Police Station, says they have been unable to interview any of Wolfe’s sawmill employees, believed to be mostly illegal Central American workers, because following their employer’s murder they fled the area and have not returned.

Margaret Wolfe

“We just don’t know if someone was mad at him or…he always said that he didn’t have any enemy there at Green Hills, he meet some people there, but he always said he tried to be friendly with them. Sometimes we are worried that he goes out there all alone, that something could happen to him, but he always said that he didn’t have any enemies there, so he thinks they were all his friends.”

But tonight the authorities do not believe Wolfe’s killers worked for him and have focused their attention on the community itself. Nicholas says they strongly suspect Wolfe was having a conversation with his attackers before they killed him.

Inspector Gilroy Nicholas

“From what we see, I don’t believe that Mr. Wolfe was hitching up the trailer. His body was found in a crouching motion inside the pan of the pickup. It would seem to me from my experience that it is likely that Mr. Wolfe was seated on the edge of the pan of that pickup, he and someone else or he and other people. And that was when the incident occurred and then he just fell inside the pan. Because it is not possible for him to be hitching up a trailer and then fall inside the pan of the vehicle; that is not possible. So it is our belief, or it is my belief, that he was seated on the pan along with others and then fell into the back when he was shot.”

Jacqueline Woods

“Do you suspect who ever is involved lives outside of Spanish Lookout?”

Margaret Wolfe

“I think so.”

Jacqueline Woods

“Why?”

Margaret Wolfe

“Well I don’t know, I just wouldn’t think that the people in Spanish Lookout would do such a thing.”

But this was not the first time police had met Bernard Wolfe. On February eighth, amid allegations that the businessman was trying to extort money from the community of Spanish Lookout, police conducted a search at his home and charged him for keeping an unlicensed firearm and ammunition. As recent as last Thursday, police suspect that Wolfe may have been receiving threats or something or somebody was frightening him because on that day he went to the police, trying to get back his weapon. Leading the cops to believe that he feared for his life.

San Ignacio Police are appealing to anyone with information about this case to please contact the nearest police station. Jacqueline Woods for News 5.

Wolfe was the owner of Farmer’s Soy Products Limited. He leaves behind a wife and five children. This is the first murder in the Cayo District for 2003.

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