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May 30, 2007

Aikman found on road bound and gagged; otherwise safe

Story PictureFirst, the easy part: Derek Aikman is alive and well and reunited with his family. Now, the hard part: there is no discernable motive for the kidnapping so until Aikman is well enough and inclined to tell his story, there will remain far more questions than answers. For now, the only thing we can be sure of is how he was discovered last night.

Jacqueline Godwin, Reporting
Belize City police say they will not be talking to the media until they have spoken to Derek Aikman who is currently hospitalized at Belize Medical Associates. What we do know is that around eleven on Tuesday night Aikman was found around mile twenty-three on the Western Highway.

Wellington Thomas, Found Aikman on Highway
“Meet the man the hop, the come because he was duct taped up and thing. His mouth covered up. Duct taped to like his waist around here so, the hop the come along the highway and when we tek the thing off of his mouth-I noh know if he was short of breathe or if he had asthma or something-he couldn’t even talk good.”

Wellington Thomas, a programme officer for Youth for the Future, says he was attending a wake by mile twenty-one when a stranger pulled up in his vehicle telling them that he had just seen a man who was in need of help.

Wellington Thomas
“A vehicle haul up, a S.U.V., and the guy jump out and tell we how he see wah guy down the highway duct tape up and thing and he noh know weh fi do and we ask him why he neva stop and pick up the man. He say he noh know what dah the situation; he noh want nobody ambush him, you know.”

Jacqueline Godwin
“The person in the S.U.V., what colour was the S.U.V.?”

Wellington Thomas
“Look more like wah dark blue to me or black; dah mi night check so we noh really the watch all of that…”

Jules Vasquez, Channel 7
“But he went back with you all?”

Wellington Thomas
“No.”

“Right away I ask if anybody have wah a gun or if any police inna the area. Deh had one police so I tell him let us go and see weh the happen but he neva deh pan that. He called the police and seh he wah wait till the police from either Belmopan or Belize City reach. So I took it pan myself, me and wah next brethren and we just jump inna wah vehicle, drive up the highway.”

Thomas says because he does not know what Aikman looks like, he did not immediately recognize him.

Wellington Thomas
“First I neva know till when by Hattieville when somebody seh he was Derek Aikman. I seh, well, we save wah life, that’s it.”

Jules Vasquez
“You knew that Derek Aikman was missing?”

Wellington Thomas
“I know that. To tell you the truth I noh even mi know who dah Derek Aikman.”

Jules Vasquez
“How do you feel knowing having participated in this great national story?”

Wellington Thomas
“It’s that big?”

According to Thomas, Aikman’s mouth was also duct taped and he was wearing a blind fold. Aikman also did not appear to be physically injured.

Wellington Thomas
“You can’t tell weh he mi the seh because his mouth was duct taped but I figure it was help he mi the try holler but when we tek the duct tape off his mouth he tell we that he mi feel that dah the same people weh let him go the come and pick him back up; that dah how scared he mi scared and he mi the tremble and different thing.”

“Right away we just put him inna the vehicle and speed come. Like I said the only reason we stop dah Hattieville dah because the vehicle neva have enough gas so we stop and we tek him out of fi we vehicle and put him in the police truck and dah so deh speed come down this side along with him.”

“He barely could a mi talk; like I tell you like he couldn’t even ketch his breathe, like he the breathe heavy and thing and we neva really wan question him or noting because we just feel sorry for him, just the try to help you know.”

“He mi even more weak when we tek him out of the vehicles because couldn’t stand up; we had to back him.”

The police would not discuss the case only telling News Five that there are many unanswered questions and that the incident is being investigated from all angles.

Wellington Thomas
“After we give fi we statement dah police station and everything, we gone back dah Medical to see if we could see him but the police deh neva wan let we in so we just gone home and sleep that off.”

Meanwhile, authorities say they have no idea who the driver of the S.U.V. was, but witnesses tell News Five that the vehicle matches the description of a dark S.U.V. with tinted windows that was seen parked suspiciously sometime after eight on Sunday night on the Boom/Hattieville road not far from where Aikman’s vehicle would later be found. In a late update, police tell News Five that this evening they began to take a formal statement from Aikman.

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