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Jul 1, 2014

More questions than answers in the death of a Corozal newborn

Twenty days ago, baby Laureny Pena was born to Corozal resident, Laura Pena, by cesarean section. She was past the due date by a week, but nothing seemed amiss and the mother and newborn were discharged from the Northern Regional Hospital in Orange Walk Town. All seemed well until Saturday night when the couple had to rush baby Laureny to the hospital because she was fighting to breathe. And here is where it turned tragic for the couple. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

A small funeral procession from the Pena residence, culminating at the San Andres Roman Catholic Church, carries a small wooden casket aft of a pickup truck filled with mourners.   The box contains the lifeless body of a newborn whose parents are still struggling to come to terms with her untimely death.  Baby Laureny Pena was pronounced dead at the Corozal Community Hospital just before dawn on Saturday, the circumstances at the time were unknown.


Raul Pena, Father of Deceased

Raul Pena

“At two o’clock, two-thirty in the morning, my wife woke up in the morning and she told me, screamed at me, “Love, the baby is not breathing so good.”  So I jumped on the bed and I said, “What!”  And I went to the baby and I saw the baby not breathing too well so I rushed to a taxi man and he told me let’s go to the hospital.  I jumped into the vehicle and I tell my lady, “just fan my baby, fan my baby because she is going.”  So we arrived at the hospital at two-thirty-five, as we got in there I rushed straight into the doctor’s because no patient was there so I laid the baby on the desk of the doctor.  So he told me, “but the baby is dead already.”  I tell him, “Sir, but you are not, you haven’t even touched my baby yet and you done give me an answer.”  He said the baby died a long time ago.  And I tell him, “But sir, my baby is breathing through the procedure when we were coming on the road.”


The neonate was only twenty days old and had been delivered by caesarian section at the Northern Regional Hospital in Orange Walk Town one week after her due date.  Despite being rushed by her parents for emergency medical treatment, the baby would not survive the trip to the hospital.  In fact, her father contends that the staff on duty that night did not bother to check the child’s vital signs before pronouncing her dead.


Raul Pena

“He called the nurse and he asked the nurse, “Nurse, how do you see this baby?” And the nurse said the baby is dead already.  But I said how can they get to a conclusion if they didn’t even check my baby.  Minutes after that they called the police because they told me that is a police case because the baby died in my house.  But now, after the post mortem and everything it came out that my baby died at 3:05 a.m.  How come and I arrived at the hospital at 2:35.  So how can it die at my house and I come from my house before 2:30?  That I can’t understand.  I’m not finding a culprit, I’m leaving everything in God’s hands but what they did to me is unfair.  I think that is negligence on the doctor’s because he should have at least examined the baby in front of us.”



On Monday, Forensic Pathologist Dr. Mario Estradabran conducted an autopsy on the corpse here in Belize City and found that the child died as a result of malnutrition.  According to Corozal police, a formal investigation is presently underway to determine the contributing factors in Laureny’s demise.


Supt. Andrew Ramirez, O.C., Corozal Police Formation

Supt. Andrew Ramirez

“The cause of death the doctor had remarked as being malnutrition. Again that’s a very sad state of relating cause of death of that child. From the police’s state what we will do is compile a file as per natural death that we believe a question or two needs to be answered. We will be submitting the file to the Director of Public Prosecution for advice as to the way forward with this case. It must be cognizant also that the mother along with the father is being faced with a sad, sad case. It will be unfair and unwise of us to go there at this point in time in a sort of investigative mood and continue put pressure on them to answer questions. I think that we will definite have a few questions for them but as soon as they are in a better position to feel comfortable and relaxed to answer some of these further questions that we want.”


Isani Cayetano

“Mr. Pena, do you accept what the police department is saying that your child died as a result of malnutrition?”


Raul Pena

“Well concerning that if it died from malnutrition, how they said, that’s the next why did they give it to my wife at Orange Walk when the baby was born.  That is my question, why did the doctor give them?”

Notwithstanding the many unanswered questions, the family says it will not proceed with any legal action against the hospital.  Raul Pena, however, remains strongly convinced that all hope had been abandoned before an attempt was even made to save his daughter’s life.


Raul Pena

“This is upon God’s hands, I am not nobody to take over anything. God knows what he will do and mek ih do it.”


At the time of her sudden death, the baby had not yet been registered.

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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4 Responses for “More questions than answers in the death of a Corozal newborn”

  1. Corozal Buay says:

    this man is a known drunk and drug addict. He and the wife should be locked up forever for murder.

  2. sickntired says:

    Malnutrition? Wow this da sin if these people just starve them baby to death. Even if them poor di ma couldda still breasrfeed di baby.

  3. Power Balls says:

    Raul Peña, I know you wont read this comment. But I want everyone to know what kind of person you are. You are the most trouble maker, lier, drunk,you think you are a ladies man.
    Lazy and you beat your wife. I know you for many years. Karma is getting you. You are just looking to blame some one to cover your crime. Karma is very bad because you dont go from this life untyl you pay. And the worst with an innocent. You did a lot of badness to my family. Now I hope you are paying. To the family of your wife. Take her and the kids out of that horrible life now before he kills her also. Police, just ask around the neighbours. What kind of man he is?

  4. concerned says:

    I know this man beats his wife and likes to drink . I have heard when passing before their house how his wife screams and cries on two occasions I have heard. That is domestic violence. I wonder if his family had peace these days.

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