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Jan 18, 2016

ABC7 Producer Ann Swaney Strangled Near Succotz

Ann Swaney

Now to the murders … Ann Swaney, an executive producer at ABC Chicago who was vacationing in Belize was killed in the west; that murder is being reported by ABC network, CNN and numerous other media outlets. But who killed Swaney? On Thursday, two days before she was to return home to Chicago, Swaney was murdered near the Mopan River in San Jose Succotz, Cayo. Her body was discovered floating in the river on Friday morning, exactly twenty-four hours after she was last seen alive. Today, police investigators are still scouring the area where Swaney’s belongings were found, looking for clues, a motive and a murderer. News Five’s Mike Rudon has been following the story and has an update. 


Mike Rudon, Reporting

Anne Elizabeth Swaney, thirty-nine, loved the Nabitunich Resort. She came here to relax from a stressful job as Executive Producer at ABC Chicago…and to ride horses along this meandering trail along the Mopan River.


Santiago Juan, Owner, Nabitunich

“She’s a repeat customer. She was here last year and this year she came back to ride horses again as she normally does. Before she goes riding she has breakfast then she does her stretches. As normal she went down to the yoga platform and went down to do her stretches, her yoga. And that’s the last time she was seen alive, unfortunately.”


Sources tell us Anne stopped to talk to one person at around eight-ten, on her way down to the wooden deck where she does her yoga. An hour after that, a vehicle passed that area and Swaney wasn’t there, just her belongings – her boots, a blouse, a bag with a tablet, a bottle of water, a can of bug spray and her yoga mat. The alarm wasn’t raised then because tourists staying at the resort often wander around, sometimes taking the path all the way to nearby San Jose Succotz. But by three, when she hadn’t returned, resort owner Santiago Juan called in the Police.


Santiago Juan

Santiago Juan

“When the Police were called they responded immediately. They brought out their team and their dogs. As you know in this part of the world it gets dark pretty early. By six o’clock it is already dark. They continued the search till about ten o’clock at night more or less. I don’t recall the exact time. Then they called off the search and they came back very early in the morning at which time they found the body of Mrs. Swaney. The Police were with us and one of the officers spotted the body. We went with the canoe and they retrieved the body. She was found floating in the Mopan River about three hundred metres from where she would be practicing her yoga.”


An autopsy was conducted Friday evening, and confirmed what Police had suspected from the injuries visible on the body.


Allen Whylie

Allen Whylie, Commissioner of Police

“The investigation is ongoing. Indeed we have a team of investigators working on that case. The post-mortem was conducted by the doctor and his result was that she died from manual strangulation. Also she had some blunt force trauma to the face. We have officers combing the area as we speak. We’re following up on all leads. I do know that we had one individual detained for general questioning, a Guatemalan national. That person has been charged for illegal entry at this point in time. I cannot say that he is a suspect but in the process of investigation he was in the general area so he has been detained and has been questioned.”


Because the body was found in a state of undress, investigators suspected that Swaney may have been sexually assaulted. In that regard the medical examination was inconclusive.


Allen Whylie

“My recollection from the doctor is that he did not see any sign of that occurring, but nonetheless I know that swabs have been taken for further analysis.”


As international media outlets continue to headline the tragedy, there is bound to be some fallout for the country, and even for the beautiful little resort nestled on the banks of the Mopan. But for Santiago Juan, that’s not a consideration right now.


Santiago Juan

“There’s human life that was lost, and that’s the important thing to solve. Businesses have good and bad times and right now our focus should be on finding out exactly what happened.”


And that, at this moment, is information only Anne Swaney’s killer can provide to Police. Mike Rudon for News Five.


The Belize Tourism Board today issued a release stating that while the incident is tragic, over a million visitors have come to Belize this year without incident. The release states, “Part of the reason this horrible crime has garnered such media attention is because violence against visitors to Belize is so uncommon.”

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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7 Responses for “ABC7 Producer Ann Swaney Strangled Near Succotz”

  1. Spike says:

    Attention U.S. nationals. Belize has become a violent country. Find SOMEWHERE ELSE to take your vacation.

  2. Kriol Chicken says:


    You’re wrong and irresponsible. I don’t know why people say such stupid things. 1 million people visited Belize last year because it is a wonderful place for a vacation. Crime happens everywhere. In fact, more crime occurred in this woman’s hometown of Chicago than in Belize during the time she was on vacation. Her murder is a terrible tragedy, for sure, but that doesn’t mean Belize as a whole country is a bad place to visit. Reckless people should not say such things because they only spread unnecessary fear and damage a fragile tourism economy, which is one of the vital blood lines of Belize.

  3. anon says:

    Attention All So Called American. where ever you go if it your time to die you are going to die. who knows you could die eat m.f.s. or shitting. death doesn’t choose.he take you when it time. so go vacation any where in the world belize will still be here. so called Americans.

  4. Nonsense says:

    YES Attention Belizeans and any foreigners wishing to visit the U.S: its not safe, you can be gunned down at SCHOOL or the CINEMA or in CHURCH…..etc..

  5. Firewalker says:

    Construct male and female gallows in the north, middle and southern parts of the country. Add concessions stands and a large billboard of coming attractions. If the thugs get to used to seeing the gallows and start their stupidness then start swinging a couple of them. They will get the message. Crime prevention for Belize

  6. Hatari says:

    This is sad news . . . what can anyone say? Our society has gone rouge and will have lasting effect on our country. I cannot believe that the police, our sworn protectors, called off the search because it was dark! You do not do that on an active abduction investigation! Who is to say, that she was not still alive at that time? The body was found only 300 meters away. The PD really needs to get their act together.

  7. Spike lee says:

    Attention everyone

    The US has become an even more violent country. You can’t even go to the movies or your kids cannot go to school without fear of the place being shot by some deranged lunatic.

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