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Oct 27, 2017

Maskall Villager’s Death Leaves Shocked Residents with Many Questions

Mario Herrera

We don’t generally report on cases of suicide, but it is unusual to have deaths occur in a police station, as this one did. Fifty-one-year-old Mario Herrera of Maskall village, Belize District, turned himself in to police this morning for questioning over a reported domestic dispute. Within ninety minutes, he would be found dead, hanging from inside the cell. It has left his friends and family shocked as he was not known to be a violent person. News Five’s Duane Moody spoke to one of those friends in this report.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Just before midday today, the family and friends of Maskall resident, fifty-one-year-old Mario Herrera, gathered outside the police station in the village in disbelief, following reports that he was found dead inside the station. Scenes of crime personnel and investigators were summoned to the scene where Herrera’s body was found in a cell.

 

Luis Velasquez, Friend of Deceased

“The forensics’ department was coming here because someone that was arrested earlier today had hung himself inside the Maskall cell block. And we finally realized that it was friend that we hang out with everyday. I am from Maskall; I don’t necessarily live here, but I have been here for the past three weeks and I have known Mister Herrera for quite some time. He is actually close to me because he trained me in what I do now.”

 

It came as a shock to the community because around ten this morning Herrera walked into the station, when he was being sought by police in reference to a domestic dispute. He was detained but an hour and a half later, he would be found hanging from the iron bar window in the cell. There were no signs of violence on the body and the body was transported to the K.H.M.H. morgue for a post mortem.

 

Luis Velasquez

Luis Velasquez

“For me to hear this. I have no idea what happened in there; I cannot make any judgments about that, but what I can say about the individual himself is that he is definitely a non-violent calm person. He would of course take his drinks; most bartenders that is the risk—you end up taking a drink now and again—but he’s always been known to be non-violent. He’s always been known to be someone that would recede in the face of any kind of violence. So that and again I am just going by what I’ve heard, but again I cannot judge, I cannot say anything. But it definitely hits the heart; it hits very close.”

 

Duane Moody

“When did you last see him?”

 

Luis Velasquez

“I was with him last night and then a very close friend of mine was with him this morning. I was supposed to meet him this morning, but I didn’t come out because I had some work to do; I am in the middle of training. And again that’s another thing that really hits close to the heart because perhaps—and you can always say perhaps—because in hindsight you can always say that you could have done better.”

 

Herrera was a popular tour guide in the village who worked at Maruba Resort along the Old Northern Highway. He is originally from Roaring Creek, but has been living in the village for over two decades. His long-time friend and protégé, Luis Velasquez says that the father of five children was hanging out with him on Thursday night and complained of wanting to take his life, but didn’t believe him.

 

Luis Velasquez

“He’s in the middle of some sort of a divorce or something so he would hang out with me but we are very close to the point that I stay at his home as well.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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