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Jan 2, 2014

Body of missing Canadian identified

Brian Townsend

Eight days after being reported missing, the body of Canadian national Brian Townsend has been formally identified by Belizean authorities. Townsend is believed to have been attacked on his compound in Valley of Peace on Christmas Eve. An intensive search was launched in that community and surrounding areas, but there was no sign of the missionary or his vehicle. On New Year’s Eve, local Police received word that their Guatemalan counterparts had found a body floating in the Mopan River, near Melchor, on December twenty-seventh. Since then, Police and Townsend’s family have been following that lead, and late today their worst fears were realized. Mike Rudon was out west today, where residents of Valley of Peace gathered to pay solemn tribute to their lost brother, friend, and benefactor. Here’s the story.


Mike Rudon, Reporting

Canadian Brian Townsend was important to the residents of the small community of Valley of Peace. That much was apparent when many of them trekked to the Seventh Day Adventist Academy to join a memorial mass for Townsend. The missionary built this academy, the only college in the community. Today he was remembered for that, and much more.


Jose Salam, Resident of Valley of Peace

Jose Salam

“In this community he did a lot. He was friendly and he helped a lot of people, especially single mothers…he helped them and their children, and some children who went to school he found sponsors for them also… He had a vehicle so sometimes, ten o’clock, twelve o’clock or two o’clock the morning maybe somebody would get sick and they would come to him and say Mr. Brian we need a charter…he’d do it free, he wouldn’t charge anybody. He was always willing to do the assistance.”


At three o’clock today there was still no official confirmation that a body found and buried by Guatemalan authorities was that of Townsend. But these people knew their friend was gone, and gathered together to sing his favourite songs, to share memories of him and to pray.


Miguel Ico, Friend of Brian Townsend

“We are not certain that the body we are after to identify is his, so until we identify the body then we can say that it is him and the bad news would be so.”


Miguel Ico


“What has led you all to believe that the body found all the way by the border could be that of Brian Townsend?”


Miguel Ico

“The description given to us, shared with us by the authorities in Guatemala suggest to us that it is Brian.”



“In terms of his family and friends, are you all hoping that this might be Brian if only to give some type of closure?”


Miguel Ico

“If we can only know for sure that it is him, we would be happy to know, at least for a sense of relief that we have found him regardless of his condition.”


At around four thirty today there was confirmation by Police that they had identified the body, via photos sent to them by their Guatemalan counterparts.


Via Phone: Dinsdale Thompson, OC, Benque Viejo Police Formation

“We have confirmed with our Guatemalan counterparts that the body is that of Mr. Brian. We are still working along with them to complete or further our investigation and any other forthcoming information…we will be updating the media on that. However for the time being we want to ask publicly if anybody has any information on the vehicle or on the case at hand for them to kindly come forward to the Police station and inform the Police of the information they may have.”


Dinsdale Thompson

The missing person investigation has now turned into a full-fledged murder investigation which will be handled jointly by Benque Viejo and Belmopan Police. As far as the body is concerned, those details are now in the hands of Townsend’s family.


Via Phone: Dinsdale Thompson

“From here the next thing is that the family member will be working with the authorities in Guatemala to take steps with what they want to do with the body. And the whole process of that will have to go through a judge in Guatemala. However our investigation does continue.”


For Townsend’s family and friends, there will no doubt be grief. But that grief will be tempered by the closure of knowing what happened to him, and being able to lay him to rest. Mike Rudon for News Five.


According to authorities, the body was discovered in the Mopan River near Melchor, but was transported to Flores, Peten where it was photographed and processed before being buried.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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6 Responses for “Body of missing Canadian identified”

  1. Rod says:

    Stay away tourist or you will come to Belize to die he will be one more murder along with 599 more who will go without being solved in fact this gov doesn’t even care and in fact because he is white they already put this case to rest if I was his son I would call out this pm and gov. Because it could well be the police who killed this man.

  2. Proud Belizean says:

    You must not be from Belize. Stop being negative and talking about my Belizean government like that, why would they want to bring such negative publicity to my sweet Belize. My prayers are with the family and I hope they find who did this to this gentle soul. R.I.P Mr. TOWNSEND

  3. El Mero says:

    It is dumb to criticize the government every time a crime happens. I don’t agree with the way our country is managed but that’s politics. In situations like this we should think about working with police to prevent violent situations. How about communities getting together and forming a neighborhood watch where they can bring up there concerns of suspicious activities. We should learn to protect our communities because no PM can guarantee us our safety.

  4. Merlene Hyde says:

    Mr. Rod, or whoever you are, you sound like an ignorant fool. If you know anything about Belize, then you know that it is a culturally diverse country and we do not discriminate against people because of the color of their skin. Our government will do all it can to bring justice to the Townsend family. Mr. Townsend did a lot for Belize and we will always be grateful to him. Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to the Townsend family.

  5. Spurlzy says:

    @ Rod. You sound ignorant the way you talk about the government and skin color. Get off your computer and do something if your so high and mighty. No matter what happens in Belize we should hold out heads high and not talk bad about our own country.

  6. Scott says:

    In America, on the Glenn Beck Show, I keep hearing adverts saying “Buy Land in Belize”.

    Not a bright idea….

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