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Nov 10, 2011

American Businessman murdered

Lawrence Johnson

Turning to crime, in a home invasion on Wednesday night shortly after seven-thirty, well-known US businessman, Dr. Larry Johnson, was brutally beaten and killed in Ontario Village. According to employees on his farm, merely five weeks ago, Johnson returned to the country and was planning to leave in a couple of days. Johnson, who is the owner of Iguana Creek Resort, employs a number of workers and is believed to have had a sizeable sum of money in his possession to pay his employees. The businessman and an employee were assaulted by a group of masked men in his house and then dumped in a van. The employee survived the ordeal, but Johnson wasn’t as lucky.  News Five’s Andrea Polanco reports.

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Sixty eight year old U.S National, Dr. Lawrence Johnson’s house was invaded on Wednesday night. He was brutally attacked and murdered. Johnson, the owner of a farm and Iguana Creek Resort at mile fifty six and a half on the Western Highway, and an employee, were assaulted by six masked men. His neighbor, Maruja Vargas says she heard a single gunshot and later called the police:

Maruja Vargas, Neighbor of the Deceased

Maruja Vargas

“Well the only thing we know right now is that it was like a home invasion, six men came in, they tied up him and also the one worker who stays here full time, twenty four hours.”

Andrea Polanco

“I know you live a little bit away from him on the other side of the highway. Did you hear anything at all last night?”

Maruja Vargas

“The main thing I heard was a gun shot and then about thirty five minutes, thirty to forty five minutes later the young man was at my drive way very distraught saying that Mr. Larry was badly beaten and could I call the medic and police.”

Manager of Johnson’s property says that both Johnson and his employee, Guatemalan Julio Funes were badly injured and left in a van that was awash with gasoline:

Voice of: Employee of Mr. Johnson

“According to what I heard or what the other guy is saying that he was taken from inside and put inside van and they throw gasoline on top and things like that. When we came last night I think the same guy who was with him he managed to take him outside because he thought he was leaving yet.”

Andrea Polanco

“Can you speak to us on the extent of his injuries? What kind of injuries did he sustain?”

Voice of: Employee of Mr. Johnson

“Well according to the way how I look, the throat mih swell up and the face mi swell up so it look like ih get hit with something.”

Andrea Polanco

“The other worker who was here with Mr. Johnson, he was injured as well?”

Voice of: Employee of Mr. Johnson

“Yes he get beat up to but according to him he wasn’t there and Johnson bawl fi him and so he went that side.”

Vargas says that although items are missing from the home, they are still trying to determine a motive for murder:

Maruja Vargas

“We don’t know what the motive is right now, I know that they look like they were robbing him but I don’t know if that is the totality of it, there could me more to it than that. So we don’t know the police don’t know.”

Andrea Polanco

“So you haven’t heard if anything is missing from the house as yet?”

Maruja Vargas

“Oh yea, there are certainly quite a number of things missing, computer, some documents and he had money on him because they had gotten payroll that afternoon.”

Andrea Polanco

“And you wouldn’t know how much money that would be?”

Maruja Vargas

“No, I really don’t know.”

The manager of the farm says the employees can only speculate that a friend of Johnson may have been involved.

Voice of: Employee of Mr. Johnson

“The only thing weh I could say is that ih mi had one friend here with him and he mi know everything weh he mi di do and then probably everybody estimated maybe the guy came back here and do ah something concerning due to the money or something like that.”

Andrea Polanco

“So you’re saying that the suspect is the friend?”

Voice of: Employee of Mr. Johnson

“Must be the friend.”

Johnson was scheduled to leave Belize in a couple of days and according to Vargas he was an active member of the Ontario Community:

Maruja Vargas

“He spends time in the U.S and also here. He has been coming and going to Belize for like twenty years. He is a chiropractor in the States, retired. He was setting up a clinic here, they were bringing a team of doctors from the states due here in January. They were hoping to set up a clinic to treating diabetes here but we will see what is gonna happen because the doctors still want to come we just don’t know what will happen now.”

Andrea Polanco

“So the loss of Mr. Johnson will have an impact on the community because he of course was looking forward to giving back to Ontario?”

Maruja Vargas

“Yeah he has always contributed to the village. He has given people treatment and hasn’t asked for any payment. He has helped a lot of people in Belize.”

With murder knocking close to her door, Vargas says this incident has left her scared but vigilant:

Maruja Vargas

“Well it is a little scary to tell you the truth. There is so much theft around here, so much thieving. I have been robbed several times, not at this location but at other locations here in Belize. My farm has been robbed and it’s really scary and you can’t catch up with these people. It’s very, very difficult.”

Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

Johnson is the father of ten children who reside in the U.S along with his wife. Johnson’s body now awaits a postmortem at the Western Regional Hospital.

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25 Responses for “American Businessman murdered”

  1. Storm says:

    I remember when the murder of an American girl ruined the economy in Aruba a couple years back, because Americans heard of it and quit visiting there.

    This murder might do the same for the Jewel, and deservedly so.

    Anyone, everyone who takes part in a murder must be HANGED. This time they murder an American, next time it will be one of us.

  2. Gilda says:

    What a loss for Belize… very sad….

  3. Islander says:

    When will we citizens start shooting back?

  4. hard woking Belizean says:

    So where are all the Ministers of Security????!!! Our beloved jewel is already on international news in the U.S., sadly not for a proud recognition but for GANG VIOLENCE & now THIS!!! But if you kill those !####g lazy, good for nothing called human beings as self-defense we end up with the sharp edge of the knife & even run greater risk to be locked up!!! Where’s the sense in that?!!! So much for justice & common sense prevailing.

  5. belizeanpride says:

    islander,
    if we do, we’re the ones arrested not the criminals. is funny but that’s how things run in Belize. i feel also the anger that i might shoot a scumbag someday but due to the fact that i might be arrest for the shooting and not the thief. wish things would be different but the difference have to be made by the law to give us the right to shoot in our property any intruder.

  6. Nicole says:

    Praying for his family, one of his daughters is a very close friend. He was such a caring, generous, loving, funny man. Thinking about all the Johnsons today and in the weeks to come.

  7. Amy says:

    Storm you are right when you say Americans will hear of this news and tourism could be effected. Americans have already stopped coming here on holiday due to crime and this will only hurt the tourism industry more.

  8. general says:

    i agree with u 110%. u ever shoot the protected group (criminals) in our community u r going to get the full bront of the law on u. dicky bradley the weapon of save for these scumbags will one day see how much he contributed to the state of the country of belize “haven for criminals” but its gonna be a sad ending for him….the same people he is protecting is the sam one that will end his career…

    how can u put a woman to do a mans job. lately crime in the west has plummeted to heights….remove OC Willis and mai from the san ign. formation and put someone that is capable of doing the job…conflict of interest here for her…

    we need to take back the west from criminals….we need to

  9. Lolo says:

    This is so sad .. like you say it could happen to anyone of us at anytime. This makes me want to sell my property in Cayo.

  10. Dana Richards says:

    I am a Belizean-who works very hard along with my husband-a foreigner. I am scared, downright paranoid. Our right to freedom are being taken away by criminals-our right to freedom is not being supported by the current administration. How long are the hardworking individuals in this society gonna suffer-we that are paying the tax dollars-we are not being protected by our tax dollars. The criminals have gained more rights than the victims-who are the voices for the victims? who will bring them justice? When are we gonna band together and fight back. The West was always the best! Take it Back!

  11. borntobehero says:

    we need to form a volunteer group to organize us all and get some screening of the crime figures of all our country and start do our own investigations to get the order back in place, althoug it sounds difficult is not impossible, lets get organized. Only so we can get the power of justice and stop these crimes from happening, if we do not do it now then we are running into bigger monstrous crimes more and more. So enough is enough let us all unite please.

  12. borntobehero says:

    I am so sad for the family and the ordeal that the victim. My condolences for all of them althoug i no even know them either mr. Johnson. Is a shame for our laws, the LAW in Belize is not atemorizing the criminal elements. That why lets get organized and narrow down them ourselves! Lets be impartials on that and not allow the law, the politics, the slegg parents to continue protecting criminals. I believe someone outhere should know something. I AGREE with all the commenters above so far.

  13. Eye In The Sky says:

    Why hang the murderers?
    The government is too busy locking up persons with tinting on their car windows.

  14. Jimmy Criminal says:

    I always tell the north americans who want to move to Belize. DO NOT relocate to Cayo. Too close to Guatemala and the savages who cross the border to kill and rob in Belize. Do not be stupid and leave the USA or Canada which is a paradise compared to Belize.

  15. Francisco says:

    Cada vez más, Belice es conocido como un país muy peligroso para los visitantes. Hay que tomar medidas al respecto con rapidez, sobretodo en un país tan dependiente del turismo. Es un lástima que este tipo de incidentes pasen, sobretodo por las repercusiones económicas que acarrean.

  16. ge says:

    i agree with u 110%. u ever shoot the protected group (criminals) in our community u r going to get the full bront of the law on u. dicky bradley the weapon of save for these scumbags will one day see how much he contributed to the state of the country of belize “haven for criminals” but its gonna be a sad ending for him….the same people he is protecting is the sam one that will end his career…

    how can u put a woman to do a mans job. lately crime in the west has plummeted to heights….remove OC Willis and mai from the san ign. formation and put someone that is capable of doing the job…conflict of interest here for her…

    we need to take back the west from criminals….we need to

  17. ge says:

    we need a vigilante group to cleanse out the rotten bodies that are still breathing. i am volunteering – the gov need a hand. there are too much dodough bird in the police dept. they are ready to jump on u for puny things …a stick of weed, broken light, tinting of vehicle……sad

    mr barrow is not thinking…he might be a very book smart man but he cant deliver. we need tru leaders in our country…..look at mr perdomo he is doing the right thing., he cant deliver and is incompetenet so he is stepping down…..i wish the other would do the same for the sake of the majority in our country

  18. ABC says:

    I live in that vicinity and believe me, these are not foreigners coming to commit these horrible crimes, they are ppl from around d same neighbourhood, y do u think they wore masks. This is sad, and I would advise all americans or foreigners do not retire and come to Belize, this country has nothing to offer and is not safe, stay in ur country. This was happening before and they locked up some men, then they got out, now this is happening again. All that we can do is get together as citizens being affected and in fear, neighborhood watch, have ur neighbors back and wen this happens, dont aim to just shoot, aim to kill and wen police come stand up to them, they do not protect us, the productive citizens of this country. We live in fear, lock our doors early and all that.

  19. Charlie Price says:

    Elections are coming…..WE NEED POLITICIANS WHO WILL run on a STRONG LAW & ORDER platform.

  20. Rainbowtown says:

    Corozal lion

    Occupy the homes and offices of those persons who are in charge,until they give you the answers on how they are going to protect the citizens of This jewel . Give everyone a weapon of their choice like back in the days of the old British Hunduras . God speed to Mr Johnson.

  21. b groovy says:

    lets lynch these ….

  22. puma68 says:

    the criminals we need to start dealing whit are the ones sitting in Belmopan. to fix a problem you star from the top and work your way down.

  23. Courtney Johnson says:

    My fathers death was so unfortunate and unnecessary. It will be broadcast on the television news stations tonight here in the US and people will know of this horrible tragedy. We hope this will help to bring justice and awareness to these events. Our family feels such sadness and betrayal. My father did only good to this community by his selfless acts. We pray for him and for the safety of all those in the Cayo district.

  24. Bel Can says:

    I am so sorry to hear of Larry’s death. He was a benefit to Belize and the Cayo District. The Johnson Family is in our prayers

  25. Bel Can says:

    I am so sorry to hear of Larry’s death. He was a benefit to Belize and the Cayo District. The Johnson Family is in our prayers

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