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Feb 7, 2018

Did a Brother Murder a Brother? Cruz Castillo Charged for Handling Stolen Goods of Israel Perez

A thirty-three-year-old resident of Saint Matthew’s Village, Cayo District, is in custody tonight as investigations continue into the murder of Israel Perez. Earlier today, Cruz Castillo was arraigned for handling stolen goods including a power wash machine and a vehicle belonging to Perez. But was he involved in the murder? That’s what police are trying to figure out as they piece together evidence on the stabbing of the immigration clerk, whose body was found in a shallow grave on Tuesday, days after he had gone missing. Now, Castillo is considered to be Perez’s brother, the two having spent their formative years together. News Five’s Duane Moody was in Cotton Tree today where the police rounded up other suspects.


Cruz Castillo

Duane Moody, Reporting

Thirty-three-year-old Cruz Castillo was today arraigned in the Belmopan Magistrate’s Court after he was arrested and charged for handling stolen goods, for a power wash machine belonging to CEO Peter Allen, which was at the home of Israel Perez. The Saint Matthew’s resident is also the main suspect in the murder of the twenty-seven-year-old immigration clerk, whose body was discovered on Tuesday morning in a shallow grave in Harmonyville. Since the gruesome discovery of the badly decomposed body, two other persons have been detained pending investigation. A postmortem exam conducted on site is inconclusive on the cause of death, but it is known that his limbs were bound; he was in boxers and had been stabbed multiple times before he was buried.


Israel Perez

Voice of: Resident [File: February 6th, 2018]

“When I got the report from the news stating that Israel Perez was missing. Immediately I was shocked because the same vehicle that he drove to work is the same vehicle that was driving in this road here often. We decided this morning—because I couldn’t sleep—me and my son decided to take a walk in the area where we saw the vehicle go. And when we searched the area, my son looked at me and said, “Dad, there is something here; do you smell it?” I said, “Yes I smell it. Remove yourself from there!” And I removed some of the brambles and when I removed the brambles, that’s where I saw the body in a shallow grave.”


Jasmine Arce

Jasmine Arce, Common-law Wife

“I realized he was missing from the Sunday because he usually goes to pick up his kids from Sunday. But I thought he had moved because I didn’t see his dogs and his car. But I didn’t receive any message or any calls from him. Then I called his brother and that’s when everyone said they are trying to get to him but can’t because his phone was turned off.”


Jasmine Arce, with whom Perez shared a four-year-old son, says that she last saw Israel on Thursday, January twenty-fifth; almost two weeks ago. His vehicle was missing and several of his property was retrieved from his house. Police have been hot on that trail, which took them to this house in Cotton Tree Village, some five miles away from where Perez lived. Even as his family and friends sought his whereabouts, Israel’s blue Mazda Tribute SUV was parked here and being driven by Castillo and several others from the village.


Voice of: Resident, Cotton Tree Village

“I started seeing the vehicle around the same Sunday, probably in the afternoon time. That’s when I saw the vehicle and I watched it very strange being because it is not normal to see them with those types of vehicles cause I know they usually use motorcycles or bike or walk. So I was watching to see what’s going on, why they have a vehicle. Turns out to be it was the blue tribute.”


Duane Moody

“That belonged to the deceased?”


Voice of: Resident

“Yes and they drove it up and down like if nothing was wrong through the back streets of Cotton Tree Village.”


Duane Moody

“When was the last time you saw the vehicle here?”


Voice of: Resident

“The last time I saw the vehicle was Wednesday, but other people may say Thursday, but that’s because I don’t really come out of my house.”


Duane Moody

“Did you ever see Israel out here?”


Voice of: Resident

“No. I didn’t see him. I would only see the person driving the vehicle.”


Duane Moody

“Now that person I understand is not someone that is known to the villagers here, noh?”


Voice of: Resident

“Right. The first time we saw him, it was strange because Cotton Tree, you could know who is from this village and who is not from the village.”


This afternoon, Scenes of Crime personnel along with police officers, in the presence of two handcuffed men, searched the Cotton Tree house for evidence. It is not known what was discovered today, but News Five has confirmed that there is mounting evidence against Castillo. A cell phone and chain with a crown medal belonging to the deceased were found in his possession. Police were also able to recover the vehicle from the same Cotton Tree address as well as two stained shovels with soil at the property, believed to have been used to dig the grave. Today, the family was too distraught to give an on camera interview because the suspect is well known to them, since Castillo and Israel were considered brothers because they grew up at the King’s Children’s Home in Cotton Tree Village.


Jasmine Arce [File: February 6th, 2018]

“I just want justice. I just want them to find who did this. I want the person to go to jail because Israel has a kid. He shouldn’t have done that to Israel; whosoever did it. And it hurts me cause I never thought my child would grow up without a dad.”


Duane Moody 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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