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Nov 14, 2016

In Dangriga, Senior Citizen Savaged by Nephews for Money

The Stann Creek District has not seen a murder for months, so news of the weekend’s gruesome murder has rocked the community.  The victim and the apparent reason for her sudden and shocking end have residents reeling. A sixty-three year old housewife, fruit and food vendor and devout Christian was viciously attacked in her home, allegedly by two close relatives, who sought her hard-earned savings while her husband was away in Guatemala. The manhunt is now across borders, as the suspects are believed to be in their native El Salvador, and gang ties may play a role. Correspondent Aaron Humes travelled south today and files the following report.


Aaron Humes, Reporting

Felipe Melendrez Martinez looked baffled and bewildered when we spoke with him in the presence of his pastor this afternoon. He was still trying to make sense of his wife’s sudden and senseless apparent murder. He had gone to Guatemala on a short trip last week for business and when he got home, he met a most disturbing scene.


Felipe Melendrez Martinez

Felipe Melendrez Martinez, Husband of Deceased (Translated)

“I thought she was at the assembly when the pastor then called me asking me where she was. I told her I could not find her. The door was open and the beans were spoiled. She asked what could have happened to her and I told her I don’t know and that he bed was not made. So she said that she would go to the hospital to see if she was there. She went to the hospital and she was not there and on her way back she went to the police station to make a report.  She said to wait until tomorrow, which was Thursday. She then came with some friends and started looking for her. I then went to the police station to report her missing, that she had disappeared.”


But what he did not know was that his wife, sixty-three-year-old Victoria Castillo, had already been taken away from him.


Ralph Moody

Sr. Supt. Ralph Moody, Regional Commander, Southern Police Division

“On Saturday, in the morning, we received a call of a shallow grave, or a grave. Police then visited the area, where we saw what appeared to be a human body. We then conducted a post-mortem [examination] yesterday; in the presence of the doctor, we exhumed the body and a post-mortem [examination] was conducted. I must say that we saw several chop wounds to the chest of the victim, and as well the neck or the head was cut, partially cut off, only leaving a piece of skin holding it. At this present moment we cannot say the cause of the death yet; the doctor did not sign the death certificate or did not give the reason for the death. Missing from the residence is a passport and three thousand dollars U.S. currency. We are looking for Mister Felipe’s two nephews, who we suspect have already fled the country.”


But what would possess two nephews to kill their elderly and pious aunt? Police believe they know.


Sr. Supt. Ralph Moody

“The possible motive is theft, due to the fact that one of the nephew(s) wanted to bring a girlfriend from Salvador to Belize; and she requested assistance from Miss Castillo, and she volunteered to give some sort of assistance; and I believe she pulled out her money in his presence and he saw the amount of money and decided to kill the young lady for that amount of money.”


While Police so far have not been able to confirm it, the bereaved husband believes a well-known gang from El Salvador may be involved.


Felipe Melendrez Martinez [Translated]

“They use to go there in confidence and they say that they saw them on Tuesday around five o’clock. I don’t think it was anybody else since they were the only ones there on Tuesday at five. This is why I blame them even though I did not see anything but I imagine that it was they. I know where they live and in El Salvador the gang situation is terrible. Somebody told me that they have green markings that represent the Salvatrucha gang.”


According to Police, the suspects have been in contact, indicating that they plan to return from El Salvador to Belize. When and if they do, Police will be waiting to talk to them. Meanwhile, Felipe Melendrez prepares to go on without his companion of twenty years. From Dangriga, Aaron Humes reporting for News Five.

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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