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Aug 1, 2019

Murder in Young Bank; Elderly Musician is Chopped to Death inside his Home

Manuel Barrera

Police are also investigating the murder of an elderly man in the village of Young Bank, Cayo District.  On Wednesday afternoon, police were called out to the village located along the Valley of Peace Road. There, they found Guatemalan national Manuel Barrera dead inside his house. The family believes Barrera was eating lunch when he was killed.  Reporter Andrea Polanco was in Young Bank Village today finds out more.


Andrea Polanco, Reporting

This is how the people of Young Bank will remember seventy-eight-year-old Manuel Barrera Vasquez – cheerful and singing, always strumming his guitar. But the music and joy that this musician would spread in the village was snuffed out of elderly Guatemalan man by a cold-blooded killer. Araceli Barrera was in Guatemala when she get the tragic news about her father’s murder.

Araceli Barrera

Araceli Barrera, Daughter of the Deceased [Translated]

“Regrettably, I don’t live here. I live in Guatemala and, regrettably, yesterday they informed me that he had died. They say that he possibly died on Monday evening.”


On Wednesday evening, a neighbour saw smelled a foul scent coming from Barrera’s house and a close look showed flies around the door. So, they went to check on him. They found both doors locked. When they went inside, they saw Barrera’s decomposing body with large chop wounds.


Araceli Barrera [Translated]

“A neighbour smelled a bad scent and saw flies around. So he notified one of my brothers to come and check to see what’s going on. Regrettably, when my brother came to check he found my father already dead.”


Andrea Polanco

“Where did they find him?”


Araceli Barrera [Translated]
“Right there inside his house, next to his bed.”


According to Araceli Barrera, the killer or killers snuck up on her father when he was eating. They believe it happened on Monday afternoon sometime after two, because that is the last time he was seen alive, as he carried his lunch inside his house. But on Wednesday that lunch was still on his table:


Araceli Barrera [Translated]

“Monday around two in the afternoon they saw him carrying his food, carrying his tortillas to eat. And there you can see that when they attacked him he was eating. He was having lunch at the time.”


Andrea Polanco

“His lunch is still there?”


Araceli Barrera [Translated]
“Yes. His lunch is still there on the table.”


But who would want to kill a seemingly harmless elderly man? Well, the family suspects that it is someone they know. They describe the situation as a family dispute. Barrera made a report to police a few weeks ago because the person had threatened to kill him. Barrera’s ex-wife, Roselia Fernandez, lives nearby and she says she was also threatened.


Araceli Barrera [Translated]

“A person had threatened to kill my father.”


Andrea Polanco

“And you don’t why?”


Araceli Barrera [Translated]

“It was a problem sort of within the family.”


Andrea Polanco

“And did he report it to the police?”


Araceli Barrera [Translated]

“He had reported that on one occasion she had burned his clothes and papers. And when he is here resting, they would always come and stone his house. About two months ago he reported it to the police.”


Andrea Polanco

“So, apart from that, he didn’t have any enemies or anything like that?”


Araceli Barrera [Translated]

“Not one enemy. Here all the neighbours liked him and tried to help him. We are a poor family and so we didn’t have how to help him. So, he used to earn his living by going out to sing at the markets and that is how he made his money.”


Roselia Fernandez

Roselia Fernandez, Ex-wife of the Deceased [Translated]

“They threatened me. I have about five months since I have taken an operation. One day I went to see my son and they threatened me that they would kill me and I ran away.”


Barrera lived alone inside his house. Several family members live nearby. Fernandez says that the reason she didn’t think anything was wrong is because Barrera had informed her that he was going to Melchor; so the family thought that he was away. They say that they didn’t hear any noises or disturbances in the area. Barrera spent his days singing near the markets in Belmopan and San Ignacio where he earned his living. And when he was in the village, he took his talents here to church. The pastor says that Barrera was always friendly and willing to help out around the community. Now, Fernandez says she wants someone to pay for this senseless murder.


Manuel Barrera

Roselia Fernandez [Translated]

“What we want is justice. His death can’t just stay like that. He was a man who didn’t get into any problems with anyone.”


Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

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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