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May 16, 2018

Arson/Murder as Body Found in Belmopan; is it Missing British-South African?

Police suspect that a cluster of houses in the Banana Bank area in the outskirts of Belmopan was set on fire to disguise a murder. The fire swept through the four wooden houses early on Tuesday afternoon, but around three o’clock firefighters found the charred remains of a man believed to be British national Bruce Davidson. The property owner has not been located and his vehicle is also missing.  Now, firefighters first believed it was a bush fire, but later discovered the isolated property engulfed in flames. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

The charred body of a man was discovered in the debris of a burnt house in a remote area of Belmopan on Tuesday. Sometime between eleven a.m. and twelve-thirty p.m., a fire broke at this property on Jordan Ranch Road off the Banana Bank Road, behind the Belize Christian Academy. A wooden structure made from four houses, three feet off the ground once stood on the property, owned by British national Bruce Davidson. Firefighters in Belmopan were called in around twelve-thirty-eight, but were responding to reports of a brushfire in the area, only to find that a house was engulfed in flames.

 

Benisford Matura

Benisford Matura, Deputy Fire Chief

“Approximately twelve-thirty-eight yesterday we got a call for bushfire on the old Dollar Bank Road; that’s an area just off the George Price Highway across from the airstrip in the Belmopan area. The unit from Belmopan City went to the area; upon arrival, it turned out to be a structural fire on Jordan Ranch Road which is a road off the Banana Bank Road. The unit arrived, got into operation and out the remains. Because of the duration and the distance and it was a wooden structure, it was already burnt away.”

 

As firefighters got into the investigation on the ground, they would make the gruesome find within the debris, in the largest of the four structures. Police were called in around three-thirty p.m. where a criminal investigation began. While Belmopan police and scenes of crime personnel were on the ground today, the body, which is that of a man, remains unidentified.

 

Benisford Matura

“There were four houses, right next to each other, approximately ten to five feet apart from each other—so it was very clustered. While doing our mapping up, hitting the small spot fires, the firefighters discovered human remains in the biggest structure. The police was immediately contacted because of the severity of this fire or the discovery of the human remains.”

 

News Five has learnt so far that Davidson had only been living at his recently purchased property for about ten weeks. He chose that isolated area because it reminded him of where he grew up in East Cape, South Africa. His pickup truck and two dogs are also missing, his phone goes unanswered and Davidson cannot be located. So was the British national killed and then his house set on fire to conceal his murder? While that question is yet to be determined, Deputy Fire Chief Benisford Matura confirms that it is a case of arson.

 

Benisford Matura

“The police and the fire departments then started investigation and we found out that the structure itself, the four structure that burn, all burnt at the one specific time meaning that they were all lit at the same time. So we class this fire as an incendiary fire.”

 

Reporter

“I understand he is a British national; you guys have any background on him?”

 

Benisford Matura

“…haven’t gotten all the information; just a name that it was Bruce Davidson, the owner and they are still trying to see if the remains that they found, were of his.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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