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Apr 13, 2018

Double Murder on Small Island; Robbery Suspected

Gabriel Escalante & Mark Sewell

A double murder took place early this morning at Caye Lagos which is located about four miles south of Caye Caulker. The small caye is occupied primarily by fisher folks but at three this morning; tragedy struck for two men socializing at a three-story building around eleven-thirty on Thursday night. Caretaker Mark Sewell and fisherman Gabriel Escalante, both from Ladyville, were reportedly in the company of a third person whose identity has not been confirmed. Now, there are two reports. The police claim that that unidentified person turned on the unsuspecting duo, killing Sewell on the veranda of the third floor of the building and Escalante on the ground floor. But persons close to the deceased have given a different account of what took place on the island. That report is that a gunman fled to Caye Lagos after carrying out an armed robbery on Caye Caulker. After killing Sewell and Escalante, the murderer reportedly escaped by stealing their boat. The bodies of the two men were transported to Belize City this morning. News Five’s Isani Cayetano and Andrea Polanco both worked on this story today and file the following report.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Caye Lagos is a small, private island off the southern end of Caye Chapel.  The sandy landmass, even with a massive three-storey edifice that can be seen from a distance, is more of a fishing camp than it is a luxury stay.  That’s because the building remains under construction.  It is here that two men were shot and killed in the early hours of this morning.  One of them is said to be the caretaker of the property, the other is identified as forty-two-year-old Gabriel Escalante, a well-known fisherman in Ladyville.


Wayne Copius

Wayne Copius, Brother-in-law of Gabriel Escalante

“I know he, da wah respectable person, noh got no problem with nobody, just like ih father, ih brother, ih sister.  None ah dehn got not [static] with nobody eena dis society.  Everybody supposed to know, everybody know Gabriel eena dis society, just like my neighbor dehn.  My dawg is known as a well-known seaman, work hard fi ih family.”


Escalante had been accompanied by forty-eight-year-old Mark Seawell, as well as another unnamed individual.  Sometime around three a.m., a vessel reportedly docked on the island, its occupants disembarked and then proceeded toward the building.  The trio was upstairs on the third floor socializing when things went terribly wrong.  Seawell’s cousin, Lisa Brandon, spoke with News Five this evening.


Lisa Brandon

Lisa Brandon, Cousin of Deceased

“We noh expect nothing like this would ever happen to Mark, noh Mark Seawell, noh mi cousin.”


Andrea Polanco

“He was killed along with Gabriel Escalante and I understand they worked together and they were friends as well.”


Lisa Brandon

“Yes, they were friends.  They were real good friends.  Like I said, they’re from the village, so everybody knows them guys, dehn dah noh no trouble people as far as I know.  I raise round my cousin so I know Mark never did do no kind of drugs.  That’s for sure.”


Caye Lagos is situated approximately four miles south of Caye Caulker.  When police visited that location just before dawn, they discovered the bullet-riddled bodies of both men.  According to Brandon, the other unidentified man was the one who sounded the alarm that there had been a deadly shooting.


Lisa Brandon

“Yes there was a third person; he is the one that made the report to police to let them know what was happening on the island.  So that’s when we got the news about this morning, I think like about seven or like a little bit after six when we got the news about what happened to Mark.”


Andrea Polanco

“So that person, it would seem, escaped with his life.”


Lisa Brandon

“Yes, he did.  And thank God he did because, I mean, nobody really mi wahn know weh happen to Mark until the family really go back on the island and check what probably happened.”


What Brandon admits to hearing in the wake of the double homicide is that a robbery had taken place in Caye Caulker sometime prior to the armed assault on the lifelong friends.


Mark Sewell

Lisa Brandon

“According to what I heard is that the person them weh supposed to [have done] the robbery, supposed to did a robbery in Caye Caulker first and it was supposed to be an escape from Caye Caulker to that island and then try, I guess… Mark supposed to know exactly who did it.  He know exactly who shoot him because he noh mi wahn just entertain somebody upstairs a wah, at his job.  He wouldn’t even invite somebody een if ih noh know dehn.  Then again, you never know.  Maybe he feel like somebody needed rescue and he probably tried to help somebody.”


Police, on the other hand, are saying that Seawell and Escalante were along with a third person and that individual may have been the one who turned on them with lethal force.  That account is being disputed by friends and relatives of the deceased, corroborating the angle of a robbery on Caye Caulker.


Gabriel Escalante

Voice of: Friend of Mark Seawell

“Dehn end up di gone dah this caye yah before Caye Chapel weh wah lee house deh and dehn gone and dehn kill two ah the crew members dehn weh watch the island. When dehn kill dehn, dehn gone with the owner boat too and I hear one ah dehn end up di escape. I noh know how true it is, but that dah words on the streets that that dah weh happen.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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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