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Jun 22, 1999

Coroner’s inquest held on Julian Cho’s death

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In December Belizeans were shocked to hear that a young and vocal activist for Maya rights had died suddenly at his home in the Toledo District. Although it appeared as if Julian Cho had fallen from the roof of his home by accident, his family, in particular his wife Maggie, believed he had been the victim of foul play. But this week the case of Julian Cho appears to have been finally laid to rest as a coroner’s inquest in Punta Gorda on Monday ruled his death an accident and that no one is criminally responsible. Cho’s body was found on December 1st, 1998. Reports at the time indicated that Cho had been drinking over the weekend and failed to report for work at Toledo Community College that Monday. Maggie Cho and his close friends, however, insisted he was not a heavy drinker and wanted the matter investigated further since they claimed he had received death threats from workers displaced by the suspension of the Malaysian Logging Concession, an operation Cho had opposed. Maggie Cho’s efforts led the Ministry of National Security to exhume the body and bring in an independent pathologist who performed a second autopsy in February. His findings concurred with those of Dr. Mario Estradabran who ruled the death an accident. Apparently Punta Gorda Magistrate Clive Lino, who presided over Monday’s inquest, also agreed with the medical authority and police findings.

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