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May 17, 2017

Body of Guatemalan Retrieved in Chiquibul; Others Reported Injured

When we left you on Tuesday evening, the breaking news was the discovery of a body, believed to be that of a Guatemalan national, inside the Chiquibul National Park.  The body was located in the extreme reaches of the Ceibo Chico area, approximately eight kilometers east of the Adjacency Line.  Earlier today, a joint operation led by the Organization of American States, along with personnel from the Belize Defense Force and the forensic department, located the remains around two p.m.  While a Guatemalan radio station reported that the deceased was a soldier, B.D.F. Commander David Jones says that he is one of three persons that were in the area and it is believed that he may have fallen off a cliff or drowned in the remote area. The body has been transported to Belize City where a post mortem examination is being scheduled.  Late this evening, we spoke by phone with Brigadier General Jones who stated categorically that only one body has been retrieved from the wilderness.


On the Phone: Brig. Gen. David Jones, B.D.F. Commander

“We had received reports yesterday of a possible deceased Guatemalan body in the Chiquibul area that probably occurred, I believe it would have been on Monday night.  So yesterday, Tuesday, we were asked to see how the B.D.F. could assist in retrieving the body.  So foreign affairs from Belize and Guatemala have been in communication and it was determined that it would require the assistance of the B.D.F. to find the body.  So this morning, we had two members of the O.A.S., a member from the Guatemalan consul in Guatemala, a guide and three other members of the villagers from Monte Los Olivos where the deceased is from.  So the guide took the patrol towards the area where the body was allegedly to be found and we realized that the body was closer to the Ceibo Chico Conservation Post and not the Rio Blanco Conservation Post.  So it was over a four hour walk from the first conservation post to where the body as found.  When the body was found we had forensics from Belize on the scene because we deployed our helicopter this afternoon to the area in order to retrieve the body.  They found the body I think sometime this evening around two o’clock or so and the body was retrieved, taken on to the helicopter and then brought back to the municipal airstrip this evening.  So they left with the body about twenty-three past this evening and landed between five-fifteen or five-thirty at the airstrip.”


Isani Cayetano

“A few questions General Jones.  It has been reported elsewhere in the Guatemalan press that this incident involved two bodies that were recovered from the area.  Can you speak to what has been published elsewhere in terms of setting the record straight?”


On the Phone: Brig. Gen. David Jones

“The facts are, when we got into the area there was only one person there.  Only one person we found so that was the body that was retrieved and taken.  We are not aware of any other person that was injured there.  We’ve heard that two other persons were injured but we had no encounter with such persons.  It was only information we received from our Guatemalan counterparts that one other person injured his ankle and the other person broke his clavicle.  So it is suspected that because the deceased was found beside a cliff that the person may have fallen from the cliff, well three of them may have fallen from the cliff.  So the two that were injured may have been injured from the same fall.  Unfortunately, the deceased didn’t make the fall.  He suffered fatal injuries from the fall.”


Isani Cayetano

“In terms of what happens next, I understand that a post mortem examination has been scheduled, but insofar as the O.A.S. and the counterparts in Guatemala are concerned, what happens next?”


On the Phone: Brig. Gen. David Jones

“Well, the post mortem will be done and we will be able to conclusively determine what was the cause of death.  The body was in a shallow stream but the thing is that it apparently fell from the cliff.  So it has to be determined either if the injuries were sustained because of the fall or because of the water that was in the area.  So that will be determined, probably by tomorrow we’ll know that information.  What’s next in regards to Guatemala and what they would like, I guess they will channel it through our foreign affairs to find out what actually transpired.  So they’ll get information from the villagers and also they can interview our soldiers who work in the area as to what happened.”


In today’s edition of Guatemalan newspaper Prensa Libre, it is reported that the bodies of two farmers were discovered on Tuesday.  The publication went on to identify the Guatemalan nationals and stated on record that the body of Marvin Chac Pap was found approximately five hundred meters inside Belizean territory, while Eduardo Caal was shot to death.  Salvador Cutzal, a consultant in Guatemala on the Adjacency Zone, is quoted as saying that there is insufficient evidence to blame Belize’s security forces for those alleged deaths. We do note however that Edwardo Caal, who lived in Hope Creek, was shot and killed on Monday morning as he rendered assistance to accident victims turn murderers. This happened on the Coastal Road in southern Belize. 

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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