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May 22, 2018

Fire in Hopkins Guest House May Cover Apparent Murder

Jorge Magaña

There is yet another murder case, similar to that in Belmopan last Tuesday in which it is believed that a British national was killed and then his house set on fire to conceal the crime. Over the long weekend in Hopkins, there was a murder inside what used to be Flomon’s Guesthouse on the main street in the village. We say used to be because the guesthouse and the Hopkins Office Supplies on the lower flat of the two buildings were gutted by fire, deliberately set, in an effort to destroy evidence of the homicide. News Five’s Duane Moody traveled south today and files this report.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Flomon’s Guesthouse and Hopkins Office Supplies once stood between two structures on this property belonging to the Flores family here in Hopkins Village.  But just after four a.m. on Sunday, a fire broke inside one of the structures which quickly spread to the adjacent two-storey building. Firefighters responded, but everything was lost. But around six a.m., police and fire personnel along with residents discovered what appear to be the charred remains of a human body beneath the zinc of the first wooden structure.

 

Orin Smith

Orin Smith, Station Manager, National Fire Service

“At approximately 4:20 a.m., the Dangriga Branch of the National Fire Service received and responded to a structural fire in the village of Hopkins, Stann Creek District. On arrival, two of three structures were seen engulfed in flames; all three structures were on the same property. The structure at the furthest point from the first two that were on fire was undamaged by the fire. Preliminary investigations reveal that the fire originated in the second structure.”

 

Francis Flores

Francis Flores, Manager, Flomon’s Guesthouse

“There was this guy who got a bucket of water and tried to out a flame beneath one of the bathrooms. So when he saw something which looked like a body, he alerted me and everyone who was around. To confirm if it was a body, I picked up a stick and I twerk the body to see if it actually a person, but I couldn’t fully establish if it was a person. Immediately after, there was a special constable who went to confirm if it was a body or not.”

 

Orin Smith

“During the mop up phase of fire extinguishment, the lifeless body of an unidentified person was also discovered. The cause of the fire is classified as incendiary.”

 

The body is believed to be that of twenty-four-year-old Jorge Magaña. He along with thirty-three-year-old Ted Augustine, a mechanic of Police Street in Belize City, was staying inside a room at the guesthouse. They checked in on Friday and by Sunday morning, Magaña was killed by fire.

 

Francis Flores

“They were staying in that room. I was the one who checked them in before I went to Dangriga the following day. I went to Dangriga around two p.m. on Friday to prepare for Dangriga Day and I checked them into the room and they said they were going to stay two nights.”

 

Joseph Myvett

ACP Joseph Myvett, Head, National Crimes Investigation Branch

“Several persons were renting the different apartments and all were accounted for with the exception of one George Magaña. Police have recorded several statements. The remains were removed and taken to the Southern Regional Hospital where it awaits a post mortem examination.”

 

According to reports, around three-thirty a.m. Magaña was dropped off at the apartment by a villager from Hopkins. He was then seen at a neighboring residence where he got into an altercation with three persons before he retired to his room. Two men then reportedly lit a cardboard barrel on fire beneath the building with Magaña and Augustine inside. Augustine narrowly escaped the blaze, but Magaña was trapped and perished.

 

Isani Cayetano

“The family believes that foul play may have been part of what transpired in the arson.”

 

ACP Joseph Myvett

“Well what we know; that information as given to the police and that is one of the angles we are taking in relation to this investigation.”

 

A twenty-year-old and a twenty-two-year-old, both identified as fishermen from Hopkins Village are in police detention pending charged for murder and arson. Duane Moody for News Five.

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