A look at the possible motive for Joseph Sanchez’s murder
Police have reviewed video surveillance of the murder of eighteen year old cross dresser, Joseph Sanchez, but there are no arrests so far even though police believe the motive is armed robbery. The video footage, which has no audio, reportedly shows that he was frisked and then stabbed by one of two men who fled the scene. Sanchez was found dead just before two on Sunday morning dressed in a sleeveless blouse and a skirt and his cell phone was retrieved near the crime scene. The story has shaken up the gay community who describe the murder as a hate crime. Duane Moody revisits the story tonight looking for a possible motive for the murder.
FOR VIDEO CLICK HERE: MOTIVE FOR SANCHEZ MURDER
Duane Moody, Reporting
Eighteen year old Joseph Sanchez was fatally stabbed on Elston Kerr Street behind the Gwen Lizarraga High School as he left his Laura Dunn Street house supposedly to attend a party. Just before two on Sunday morning, his life was cut short when he was stabbed to the center of the chest which, according to the post mortem result, punctured his heart. But it is Sanchez’s lifestyle that has triggered speculation as to the reason for his murder. The family has gone on record to say that for years, Sanchez was targeted for his lifestyle… And that days before his demise, he was receiving death threats from a former lover.
“The death threats weh ih mi receive, ih neva did tell we about it. He had trust more in his friends and things, so ih tell ih friends dehn. That is the way I found out that ih mi di receive death threats from the male person weh ih mi have. Ina last week before, I had ih phone and that person mi di call ih phone and ih tell me Abner noh answer that person cause I noh wah got nothing with that persons deh. Well look to result that that same person deh mi di send ahn the threats and thing. From what I heard from ih friends dehn, the person weh he mi di go out with, neva know that he dah mi wah man. So ih look like when the person find out that he dah mi wah male, well ih start to send the death threats at him.”
“When Joseph woulda go out dressed up like a female, he noh wah walk down the street mein. They actually come pick he up from yard and dehn ker ahn eena vehicle and dehn bring ahn back ina vehicle. So whosoever dah person deh weh call ahn that time of the night and make he go out and make he walk out so, my belief is that dah that person set ahn up fi get ih lee vengeance off of him.”
The Belize City Police Department have been investigating this homicide from all angles and say that evidence indicates that two male persons tried to rob Sanchez, but before fleeing, the was stabbed to the chest. Surveillance camera in the area caught the crime as it unfolded: Sanchez was frisked and robbed by his assailants before he was stabbed.
ASP Calbert Flowers, Acting Commander, Precinct 2, Belize City Police Department
“The investigation reveals that this person was walking on Elston Kerr Street when he was attacked by two persons. The investigation revealed that these two male persons that attacked this person tried to rob him. During that robbery a struggle ensued and this person was stabbed once to the chest. The investigation is ongoing and we have what we think is enough evidence to show that it was an attempt robbery.”
“The culprits, are they known to the police and has anybody been arrested so far?”
“No one has been arrested. We have persons of interests who are known to the police officers who we are seeking for questioning in relation to this murder. However no one has been detained and no one has been charged.”
The eighteen year old is the first male cross dresser to be killed in Belize. But according to Caleb Orosco, Executive Director of the United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM), persons of the LGBT community have been targeted for years. According to Orosco, the murder was a hate crime.
Caleb Orosco, Executive Director, UNIBAM
“The police is under no obligation to report that it was a hate crime. The evidence would show that it is a robbery, it’s a murder or assault generally and all crimes are treated in general terms. The issue for us here is that the act itself is hateful because it robbed the life of a young person who had dreams and aspirations and it robbed a mother of a child that she gave life to. More precisely, it robs the community of a sense of security. And it is within that context we define it as a hate crime. What we don’t know at this point is the motive. Beyond what we know of our ‘trans’ community here which is in Orange Walk, Corozal and across the country is that they are disproportionately vulnerable to violent crime. They will not report most of the harassment, the threats or the ridicule because they have treated it as part of their daily lives. Whatever the case may be though, one of the things we must remember is that even if you don’t like somebody’s appearance, even if you don’t like the way how somebody walks, it does not give you the right to rob somebody of their life or take away their life because you do not like them.”
“The fact is that someone lost their life and we are treating this investigation as any other murder. We are not ruling out anything. So far, we believe that it was a robbery, but we cannot rule out anything so we are exploring all angles.”
Anyone with information on this crime is asked to please contact the nearest police station or call crime stoppers Belize at 0-800-922-TIPS. Duane Moody for News Five.
According to Orosco, over seventy members of the LGBT have experienced violence because of their lifestyles.