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Apr 29, 2009

Charred remains of Belmopan woman located

Story PictureA farmer made the shocking discovery in an area near Mount Pleasant off the Western Highway when he saw a tiny flicker of smoke in the bushes. And from personal items found, it is believed the charred remains found covered are of a Belmopan businesswoman who was reported missing since April eighteenth. Duane Moody headed to Mount Pleasant today and has a report.

Duane Moody Reporting
The remains were located at about three hundred yards on a feeder road in the Mount Pleasant Area off mile forty-six on the Western Highway. There is reason to believe it is Cristina Rosa Cornejo, a Salvadoran business woman whose vehicle was found not far away soon after she went missing from her home in the Salvapan area of Belmopan.

Solomon Westby, Investigating Officer
“Burnt human remains were found at an area about three hundred yards in a feeder road off the Mount Pleasant Road which is about quarter mile in of the western highway. A body was burnt there and Dr. Sanchez came up to perform a post mortem examination of the suspected burnt human remains and of course, he clarified to us that it is that of a female. Due to the investigation we do believe that there is strong possibility that the body is that of Ms. Rosa Cornejo but we can not conclude that unless the doctors do their proper examination. Yes, a watch was found at the scene and other properties which definite the family members have described belonging to Ms. Rosa Cristina Cornejo.”

The discovery was made shortly after seven o’clock on Tuesday morning by farmer, Edwardo Baptist, who lived nearby and was in the bushes looking for logs for his farmhouse. Baptist said he had heard of Cornejo gone missing but was still shocked at his discovery.

Edwardo Baptist, Discovered Burned Remains
“I left my house bout a seven-fifteen or so and I come pah my bicycle, you know. And I come all the way up and you know somewhere in the area, close by I stash mi bike and I gawn up with the idea, well, I gwein cut some post, locate the area, locate the pole and whats not. From I reach up, like wah couple yards, yo wahn see right now, I realize that something no look too pleasant, you know.”

Duane Moody
“What made you think that, sir?”

Edwardo Baptist
“Something out of the ordinary then because I saw smoke—I saw smoke pah wahn big stick, you know.”

Duane Moody
“And then you came closer and what was it that was there?”

Edwardo Baptist
“Well this da just it, I saw the smoke and like wahn area weh burnt out. As I bend down under the leaf with along with the burnt area and the smoke, here and then I start to stand up look round, you know, look round because I di try see weh di happen, you know. The first thing I come across dah the skull and from the time I saw di skull, I knew dah wahn human being skull, and there are right here, dehn yah da di cohune leaf. I walk up like probably around here when I start to look at—the whole road itself because this da wahn road, these are logging roads. This road, Ih go far probably wahn mile, mile and half that way and ih also go far this way, you know. From here I saw the skull like somewhere around right there, you know eena dah area and here and then, I stand up and start to look round. But then like yo di see pieces of bones right.”

Duane moody
“All round?”

Edwardo Baptist
“Right eena da area—right enna da area. And somewhere like up here, I saw what appears to be a wristwatch and a bone like something like fingers, you know because da pure bone probably weh the fire burn it or something like that.”

Duane Moody
“Something separate it? As the hand was separate from the rest?”

Edwardo Baptist
“Like pieces, you know, the skull over there. The remainder of the bone would have been where they made the fire and the hand was here, you know. So, like here and then, I decide like no, I gotta go back. I cancel my trip, yo know. And I just–I turn right back and I gawn. I get my bike and then I gone home.”

Emotional family members could not speak on camera, but suspect that the culprit was an ex-employee of Cornejo who worked at the family business, Our Shopping Centre, in Belmopan. That individual and two others were detained by police when Cornejo was first reported missing, but have been released.

Solomon Westby, Investigating Officer
“When Ms. Rosa Christina Cornejo was reported missing, we started an investigation. We have been consistent with it. Our investigation had led us to detention of three individuals. Those three individuals were here pending investigation. However, what we had on our hands was not sufficient so they were later on release. We are still working on this investigation and probably looking for further person who can help to give us more valid information.”

Duane Moody
“Do you feel that one person could have done something like this and if so, or if not, who are you guys pointing at?”

Solomon Westby
“Our investigation—my investigation that I have carried out so far, I believe that definite more than one person involved, right. And definite we are still working on that.”

The cause of death of Cristina Rosa Cornejo cannot be certified because of the state of the remains.

Reporting for News Five, Duane Moody.

The police are asking for your help and anyone with information on this homicide is asked to contact the Belmopan police.

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