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Dec 27, 2013

Canadian missionary living in Valley of Peace goes missing; foul play is suspected

Brian Townsend

The last murder reported in the small community of Valley of Peace, just outside of Belmopan, was in September 2009. But there has been one brutal murder recently and now what, by all indications, is another – in just two weeks. Canadian Brian Townsend has been living in Valley of Peace since 2001. By all accounts he is a Good Samaritan and a good friend to the community, doing missionary work and just generally lending a hand to anybody in need. In fact, Townsend is responsible for the construction of the community’s only college, the Seventh Day Adventist Academy. But now Townsend is missing, and evidence suggests foul play. The community and the Police Department are searching for answers, even as they realize that it is likely that what they will find is the body of the Canadian. Mike Rudon was in Valley of Peace today and has the story.

FOR VIDEO CLICK HERE: CANADIAN MISSIONARY IS MISSING 

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

Sixty-four year old Canadian Brian Townsend is missing, and his friends in the peaceful Valley of Peace community fear the worst. The Canadian national lives on this compound and on Christmas Day he asked his helper to come early to prepare the Christmas meal. She sent her children to tell Townsend to take out chickens to thaw, but they didn’t find him there, so she hurried over and that’s when she realized something was wrong.

 

Voice of: Helper

“When I arrived at the kitchen, I noticed that it was open. I saw that everything inside had been thrown about. I found this strange because I knew that he was very orderly. But at about 10 at night I noticed someone driving the car outside. There was a mattress on top along with a gray carpet. I wondered if something had happened to him, but then he would have notified me. Then one of the workers, who had lost a bicycle, came by and asked me what that was over there. I went to check and I found two garden knives on the grass and then I realized that they had killed him last night. The worker left and I told him that I would call the police.”

 

Miguel Ico

Miguel Ico, Church Brother of Townsend

“He is known to be moving in and out of the village as a missionary, he goes to town to bring in supplies. He is also known to be doing trips if an emergency comes up for people – he would take them out to wherever they need to go. So the information I’ve gathered in the village is that people saw the vehicle leaving at about ten o’clock the twenty-fourth night, but again because of his custom there wasn’t any reason to be concerned. So it wasn’t until the following day and having come across the bloodspots and that area where the struggle took place that we became concerned.”

 

The rains had washed away most of the signs, but Townsend’s helper told us there were bloodstains on the grass and on this path which led to where his Chevy Silverado pickup was usually parked. The clothes he wore on Christmas Eve were still in his room, so they believe that he was in bed when he was surprised by his attackers, pulled outside and killed, and then his body was dragged to the vehicle.

 

Voice of: Helper

“That is where there is blood stain. Then there is blood over there as well. It seems that they went that way because they left a trail and there is more blood there too. There was blood here but it was washed away by the rain. It looks like they dragged him all the way here because of the footprints and the blood that’s there. Then they took him to those trees. I don’t know what they did to him but that’s where the car was found.”

 

Sinquest Martinez

ASP Sinquest Martinez, O.C., Belmopan Police Formation

“We believe that his house was broken into. He was inside his house. There are some signs of breaking into his house and some items stolen. He had been having some problems with some people from within that area and we believe strongly that they can assist us with this investigation.”

 

Along with members of the community, the Police department is conducting intensive searches in the Valley of Peace area and surrounding communities. While they are forced to treat it as a missing person’s case until further evidence is found, they suspect the worst.

 

ASP Sinquest Martinez

“Intensive searches continue as we speak. From since we received this missing person report, the police officers, SB personnel, have been in that area of Valley of Peace, Spanish Lookout, Las gracias and even the road leading to the Orange Walk area. We are treating it as a missing person, but very, very serious and we are being careful of how we go about this investigation. He had some threats prior to his disappearance and there are some people that we are looking for that could assist us in finding Mr. Townsend and it is of great concern to us.”

 

Residents of the community also fear the worst. They believe that Townsend was murdered by neighbors who had threatened him. They are angry and crying out for justice for the Canadian, who was considered a benefactor in the small community, helping many persons in need. Mike Rudon for News Five.

 

The Police Department has issued an all-formation bulletin and is monitoring all ports of entry for Townsend’s vehicle, a grey Chevy Silverado pickup. While we could get no official confirmation from Police, residents of Valley of Peace told News Five that two brothers who had been in prior conflict with Townsend haven’t been seen in the community since his disappearance. 

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