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Oct 10, 2012

Remembering 2 slain Cayo females

Suzenne Martinez

There are parallels to be drawn between the murders of Jasmine Lowe and Suzenne Martinez. Both young women, residents of the Cayo district, were attacked, murdered and their bodies discarded. And like in the case of Jasmine, the suspect in the murder of Suzenne was found with her personal belongings. News Five’s Isani Cayetano takes a closer look at the ongoing investigations and why murder charges on Pedro Ical may be hard to substantiate in the case of Suzenne.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Jasmine Lowe

Since the discovery of the lifeless body of twenty year old Suzenne Martinez a week ago, numerous comparisons have been made contrasting the circumstances surrounding her death with that of thirteen year old Jasmine Lowe.  Both young ladies were residents of the twin towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena, respectively.  Like Lowe, who was slain almost four months earlier, Suzenne was viciously attacked and left for dead in an overgrown patch.  Jasmine was en route to Belmopan while Suzenne was returning home from school in that municipality; neither made it to their final destination.

 

In the wake of the first homicide, a throng of angry residents staged a demonstration near the steps of San Ignacio’s magistrates’ court where Vasquez, believed to be involved in the commission of the crimes, was being arraigned.  In Ical’s case, he was escorted to court last Friday but was subsequently released into the custody of Belmopan police for further charges.  In both instances, the mob, understandably livid, was out for blood, calling repeatedly for the implementation of capital punishment.  In seeking justice, the aggrieved families, as well as the wider public, have turned to the police department for assistance in solving these cases.  The department, on the other hand, in yielding to their demand, may have erred when senior officers came forward in the media, perhaps prematurely, to divulge specific details of their investigations.

 

Supt. Ralph Moody, Officer Commanding, San Ignacio Police [File: October 3rd, 2012]

Ralph Moody

“We conducted an investigation into the matter where we have one male person detained who is a suspect in this case. I must say also that I believe that this person is a concerned person to the murder in Belmopan. We also have the Belmopan [Crimes Investigation Branch] C.I.B. involved in this matter. We recovered several pieces of jewelries and as well we have prints matching the prints in that area, along with the female. There is no sign of bruise on her body, no sign of marks, with the exception of one footprint that matches the suspect’s boots. That print was on the female, over her private area, [on] one of her legs.”

 

Despite the fact that the brass of the San Ignacio Police Formation has arguably disclosed sensitive information to the public regarding these matters, justice in Belize is a slow moving vehicle.  The gathering of admissible evidence, to begin with, is often a difficult undertaking for scenes of crime technicians.  In Jasmine’s case a ring, given to her by her mother, was later found in the possession of Bert Vasquez, her accused killer.  Along with a pair of witnesses, who reported seeing the girl scout inside Vasquez’s vehicle heading towards the Cristo Rey Road, the ring, which would have been considered circumstantial evidence.  The fact that her body was later found in the vicinity of Cristo Rey, ties him directly to Jasmine, hence he was charged with murder.  Conversely, a cell phone belonging to Suzenne Martinez, later found on Pedro Ical, without proof of how it came into his possession, cannot warrant a charge of murder.

 

Pedro Ical

The Director of Public Prosecutions, in effecting her duty, carefully pored over the evidence presented and presumably determined that at this time there is insufficient evidence to lay a charge of murder.  She then directed police to do a further investigation.  In his interview with the media, Superintendent Moody confirmed that the shoeprint found on the victim’s lower body was identical to Pedro Ical’s footwear, an assertion that could prompt a challenge of Moody’s qualification in making such determination.

 

Nonetheless, an angry public, including COLA representative Murphy McLaren has called for her head.

 

Murphy McLaren, Member of COLA

Murphy McLaren

“What is happening to us is that the system of investigation is weak.  The system of prosecution is also weak.  I listen to everybody say the D.P.P.  The D.P.P. should have gone long before she even took office.  She was not the most qualified, she was not the best qualified but it’s a political thing that is happening and it’s a political game being played with our judiciary and our justice system.”

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow today affirmed conditions within the Laws of Belize that prohibit parliamentary interference with the function of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

 

Dean Barrow

Via Phone: Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“The D.P.P. is a constitutional position, the security of tenure of that office is guaranteed and the independence from any kind of directive from the executive, or any kind of interference is also enshrined in the constitution.”

 

While the situation on the ground remains fluid heading into Thursday’s planned district-wide shutdown, the charges brought against Pedro Ical in both instances, involving the murders of Robert Lewis and Suzenne Martinez, appear to be a reflection of the police department’s inability to secure useful evidence. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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10 Responses for “Remembering 2 slain Cayo females”

  1. Storm says:

    Why was Ical on bail for prior sexual assaults? Sexual predators tend to be serial offenders.

    For sure, there should be NO BAIL for ANY person who commits ANY new offense while he is already on bail for a previous charge.

    We need new laws that make it harder to be released on bail for serious crimes, especially sexual assault and robbery.

  2. Rod says:

    This is he biggest problem this pm and gov. Are useless incompetent impotent on crime and if the good people of cayo no hang these murderers unu self then nothing will be done more people will continue to die if in nearly 5 years we have had over a1’000 murders have taken place what makes you think anything will change until we get rid of this scourge of a gov called udp. This pm has given these important jobs to friends and family instead of to people who are qualified for the positions this is why all these things are happening don’t let this pm get away with his lies he has changed any law he saw fit that would benefit him and the udp shut down for a week until he truly gets the message he surely didn’t get the message.

  3. marie says:

    This corrupt gov’t has done it again, neglecting the citizens because of incompetent people they put in power. There is enough evidence to classify him as the CRIMINAL, the only word left is for him to say “YES I DID IT”.

  4. belize is ours says:

    why wasnt the girl dat, dan silva son murdered, not mentioned in this list evrybady forget then or is it just another PUP political strategy, why when metioned to hector silva last night at the meeting in san ignacio he could not answer and baffood in his speech, questions ask by active PUP members was all political which they them selves was the cause i support the walk out because people have no understanding and dat cause i knew suseny personaly but yeah people studpid somtime check…. but then agin like the PUP once said, THAT WHA WAS OVA LIKE A LITTLE BREEZZ LOL

  5. Tashybze says:

    My people of Belize stop complaining and do something. Micheal’s song (man in the mirror.) Come on.

  6. Jan says:

    people, stop playing the blame game, lets get together and think of a way to make the “hanging system” come back into our lives, back in the 70′s when that was in place we had less crime rates in or country and more people were free to enjoy they beauty of our city and towns.

  7. Ixora says:

    we talking about death sentence, just be becareful what you want in this country because one day it could be you, who knows u could be innocent or framed.

  8. verymad says:

    You cant compare a little girl with the other but yes, its sad that the two rapest and killers will walk away. Its just a matter of time. I could see pervert vasquez lawyer will try to blame the other @#&%#*. The other guy is just a copycat. Dont have the brains to plan his own murders. I say we linch two of them and whoever comes in between.
    We need to start thinking like them and get rid of them from now.

  9. anon says:

    i knew suzenne for many years-met her when she was about 13 –her and i used to do homework together her doing homework and me corrections and lesson planning.she is my adopted little sister i neva had. suz was studying at ub to work in foreniscs so she could make belize a better place-not only for foreniscs-analalysing evidence of who did what when and how but what could be done about diseases. i read your blogs —and u think you angry??? give your heads a shake!!!!! what pains me is that her horrific death is a political agenda—–you think that under the other guys that a*****oles didn’t get away with sh#t like this? agin give your heads a shake. suzenne’s death folks is not bout politics.not even political will …but a mind set. i could go on ………but i am only at best an honorary belizean and it is not my place to rave on your space. the true sorrow is that not only belize lost out but the world lost a little shiny star. my condolences to you.

  10. johnathon says:

    It is proposterous the way that the DPP deals with cases and cannot even bring people to justice. We need someone of greater mind and of better judgement.. For these young ladies life have been taken and nothing has come of it so far this is iirrelevant to justice that should be given.

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