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Nov 25, 2019

Trio of Belize City Fishermen Missing at Sea; Families Fear the Worst

Sheldon Gibson & Elijah Usher Jr.

Three fishermen, who went fishing on Friday at Mapp Caye, are believed to be dead.  That’s the latest word from family members just before news time. It follows the discovery of their boat, the Lorraine, around midday today in some mangroves on Drown Caye. The trio comprises Sheldon Gibson, Elijah Usher and Kevin Roches.  Family members confirm that their vessel was bullet-ridden and that the Crimes Investigations Branch is testing for residue.  The police, Coastguard and family members continue to scour the area looking for the fishermen, but the foreboding feeling is that the trio is not alive.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Three young men, all residents of Belize City, remain missing at sea and presumed dead.  The trio of Sheldon Gibson, Elijah Usher Jr. and Kevin Roches set out to an area near Mapp’s Caye on Friday and have not been seen or heard from since.  What was meant to be a daylong fishing expedition six and a half miles off the coast, has turned into a desperate search.  The glimmer of hope that somehow they are still alive fades with each passing day.


Voice of: Relative of Sheldon Gibson

“On Friday morning, he left his home en route to sea to go fishing.  Normally he would come home in the evenings and for some reason on Friday he didn’t return home in the night.  My mother usually calls him to confirm with him whether he was going to bring something to eat or if she has stuff at home for him to eat.  But when she called him that Friday she didn’t get any answer, his phone just rang and rang.”


…and since then Sheldon’s phone goes straight to voicemail.  Something ominous happened the following morning, a portent that tragedy had befallen them at sea.


Voice of: Relative of Sheldon Gibson

“The Saturday morning, an individual came to our house to inform us that his son went fishing with my brother in the Mapp Caye area and for some reason he was saying that he felt as if though his son was dead or his son was missing.  So we asked him, it was just overnight, how comes he feels that way.  He said, well he just knows that his son, he feels as if though his son is dead.  So we went to the station and we made reports that our brother was missing and we asked that the police went out and look for them.  And I know that wasn’t like him to go on an overnight trip because he normally comes back by evening.”


It’s been three days and neither Gibson’s or the other families involved in the search effort have been able to locate the missing fishermen.


Joseph Myvett

ACP Joseph Myvett, Head, National Crimes Investigation Branch

“On Saturday, Belize City police received a report from a relative of one Sheldon Gibson.  She reported to the police that on Friday, Sheldon Gibson, twenty-two-years-old, who is her brother, along with one Elijah Usher and Kevin Roches left Belize City in a white skiff to go fishing in the Mapp Caye area.  Family members have tried contacting them since Friday and have been unable to do so.  As a result of the report being received police and coastguard visited the Mapp Caye area where searches have been going on since the report was made.”


Could it be that the men were dispatched and plunged into a watery grave?  The Gibson family remains optimistic, however, it is not lost on them that piracy may have played a role in their disappearance.


Voice of: Relative of Sheldon Gibson

“As a child, he grew up on the sea, but I still don’t think that he had known much or enough to be out there with younger folks than him, you know, and we spoke to him about that.  We told him, you know, “Sheldon, you don’t know much about the sea.”  And our family believed that the sea wasn’t for him, we spoke to him; however, that’s what he wanted.  That’s what he chose and we couldn’t have told him otherwise.”


Mapp Caye is a bountiful fishing site, it has also been the location of several unsolved mysteries involving the vanishing of fishermen.  On Saturday, June twenty-third, the bodies of Jamar Martinez and Allyson Jones were found floating in that area.  The men had been bound together and fatally shot after reportedly heading out to camp to set lobster traps.  Back in January, the lifeless and badly decomposed body of Edinio Humes was retrieved from a latrine on the island.  Two others who were with him at the camp have never been located. 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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