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May 6, 2002

14-year-old drowns at Mile 8

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As the oppressive heat of the dry season bakes the Belizean countryside, more people try to cool off with a dip in the nation’s rivers, lagoons and sea…and invariably some of those people become drowning victims. That’s what happened to a fourteen-year-old Belize City girl Sunday afternoon. News 5′s Jacqueline Woods reports from the scene near mile eight on the Western Highway.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting

“Marsha Smith was along with her three female friends swimming in this pool of water when police say she suddenly went under and did not resurface. But Glenda Wagner believes her daughter did not drown, but was killed.”

Glenda Wagner, Mother

“I feel like they beat her in her face, they lashed her on her body because her brassiere is all the way up here and the brassiere no mind how you drown the brassiere will not loose. The brassiere is really tight and it is all the way up here so, you know. And I feel like they beat her in her face along here so on her body because along here so looks swell and her face swell right.”

Three weeks ago, Smith, a standard six student of Central Christian Assembly School had run away from home. The police managed to locate her and she was reunited with her family. But police strongly suspect Smith was on the run again when she met her untimely death.

At the pond, they found Smith’s bag containing clothes and the young girl’s schoolbooks. Her mother says the last time she saw her daughter was on Saturday morning when she left home to go to classes to prepare for the Belize National Selection Examination.

Glenda Wagner

“I saw her about Saturday morning around 7:00 when she said, “Ma I am getting ready to go to school”, and I told her okay, and she left 8 o’clock and she gone to school. I told her, “See that yuh reach back when yuh done.”

Smith did show up for school, but according to her teacher she did not attend classes nor return home that day. It is not certain where she met her friends before heading up to mile eight on the Western Highway. Wagner says the family received a report that Smith was last seen on Sunday inside a blue car.

Glenda Wagner

“Yes a blue car, they said she was in with an Indian boy. I don’t know how true it is.”

Today, a post-mortem examination was conducted on Smith’s body. The Police say at this time they do not suspect foul play, but are still investigating the case from all angles. Jacqueline Woods reporting for News 5.

The results of the post-mortem indicate that Smith died of drowning and police say they have no reason to believe the death was anything but a tragic accident.

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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