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Jan 9, 2014

2 American students are kidnapped; 3 abductors, believed to be Guatemalans, still at large

Kathen and Manisha Kotay

Two siblings were abducted in the west this morning as they left a resort, but their kidnapping fortunately ended without incident. While unscathed, eighteen year old Kathen Kotay and twenty-two year old Manisha of Virginia, USA, endured a terrifying ordeal at the hands of their abductors who were demanding seventy-five thousand dollars for their return. The kidnapping happened early this morning when the Kotays left the resort situated on the Bullett Tree Village accompanied by Theo Cocchi. The group was surprised by three abductors who remain at large. News Five’s Isani Cayetano picks up that story.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The daring abduction of a pair of siblings from a small resort in Bullet Tree Falls, believed to have been executed by a duo of fugitives wanted for other crimes committed in the Cayo District, has resulted in a massive dragnet by police and B.D.F. personnel.  As they were exiting the Parrot Nest Lodge this morning, along with proprietor Theo Cocchi, eighteen-year-old Kathen Kotay and his sister, twenty-two-year-old Manisha Kotay, were kidnapped from the premises when their captors held them up and entered the vehicle they were traveling in.


Jonathan Cariddi

Jonathan Cariddi, Rescuer

“The guests were leaving right through here and as they were leaving, two guys, or four guys from what I understand now, jumped out and held them at gunpoint and jumped in the vehicle and they took the owner of Parrot Nest and the two guests down our neck of the woods.  From there they told Ms. Theo which is the owner of Parrot Nest that they needed seventy-five thousand dollars, either dehn give ahn seventy-five thousand dollars or dehn wahn kill di guests and if she call di police dehn wahn kill di guests.  And so she come back ya and from there di phones start ringing.”


Immediately, a local militia of villagers was formed and they wasted no time in pursuing the kidnappers.  The hunt led them behind Bullet Tree Falls to a quiet community known as Paslow Falls.  Led by Chris Cariddi, the men scoured the area in search of the missing teens.


Chris Cariddi

Chris Cariddi, Rescuer

“I found the young boy, when I was informed by one of the villagers here what was going on and he told me that they were seen up in our area.  I mobilized my work crew and we jumped in our two vehicles and we headed up to the end of the road and I noticed that there were fresh prints on one side of the road towards the river.  So I dismounted my crew and I’m the only one that’s armed so we went ahead right, and I found footprints.  And while I was standing on the edge of a cliff I could hear somebody rustling down below me.  So I got on the phone and then I called my mother, who then got a hold of Special Branch and they were just down the road from me.  They flew up, we went down.  I showed them exactly where I heard the rustling, the guy slid down the bank and we uncovered the young boy in a little cave area hunkered down, right.  Then from there we proceeded because we could see the footprints and we were able to track them all the way to where they crossed the river.”


That area, known as Lamonal, is less than two miles away from the western border.


Chris Cariddi

“Before they crossed the river they all met up again at a wooden house, an abandoned wooden house on a farm about another mile up and from there they met up and they crossed over the river.  We were able to ascertain from entering the house that we could see their footprints where somebody had urinated in a spot in the house and the urination was fresh, fresh, fresh where it hadn’t even soaked through the ground yet.  So we know that we were less than a couple minutes behind the individuals.  So then the police and us mobilized and we went across the river and we were able to chase them all the way into Guatemala and we had to stop of course because we came up to the borderline.”


A resident, who identified himself as Fermin Garcia, observed the alleged kidnappers as they made their way through the vicinity.


Fermin Garcia

Fermin Garcia, Resident

“Two guys passed this morning this way and about a half hour after they passed the soldiers came behind them but I think they couldn’t catch them because it was a half hour that they passed already.”


The assets, attached to the Belize Special Assignments Group, B-SAG, did their best to track down the suspects; however their efforts would prove futile.


Mary Cariddi, Rescuer

Mary Cariddi

“They tracked them to the river; they crossed the river. So all the police and everybody, they left from here. We put some out because there is a road that goes back here and it goes behind San Ignacio to Santiago One Area; it is a known contraband road. So Inspector Reyes, he sends some men back here to try and block them from getting away while they are tracking them this side. When they crossed the river, they went across the river and left some people here. Now I just got a call in that two men on the other side of the gate up here, which makes it a dead end road, two men clean cut with arms came through. And I just got another call that two men with clean cut military looking with dogs came through, but they are not our people. From what I am hearing, they are not my people. I have given all this information to Corporal Rodriguez from CIB and they are on it. And the whole area around here is B.D.F., CIB; police did a whopping job. The sad thing is, they don’t even have no four-wheel drive vehicles.”


The suspects, described as three Hispanic men are believed to be Guatemalans. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.


Up to news time, the two victims remain in the country. 

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4 Responses for “2 American students are kidnapped; 3 abductors, believed to be Guatemalans, still at large”

  1. Ali Babarrow luvs Beano with his Deano says:

    welcome to Belize!
    the bill for this special vacation adventure will be sent to your tour operator.
    please remit promptly, otherwise the next tourist may actually be killed.

  2. concerned! says:

    This is what happens when we don’t have the right to bear arms! We need our own personal guns to protect ourselves!

  3. Jordon says:

    It just goes to show that you can always trust yourself and your neighbors far more than the government!

  4. its just being at the wrong place at the wrong time???? says:

    its just being at the wrong time wrong place and yes wellcome to Belize??????

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