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Dec 18, 2019

Missing Persons Turned Murder Victim on the Rise in 2019

The number of missing persons: youths, men and women, is on an upward trend. In some cases they are found safely but in a number of instances, missing persons are found lifeless. Often they are last seen alive with persons known to them. This week alone, two missing persons from Belmopan were found murdered. Suffering with anguish, their families reported their disappearance and within days, their remains were found. News Five’s Isani Cayetano has the following story. 


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

As the murder rate continues to climb just before year’s end, the number of missing persons reports turned homicide investigations is also on the increase.  Since the beginning of 2019 there appears to be an alarming trend of persons vanishing, only for them to be discovered sometime later in an advance state of decomposition.  It is a newfound reality, one that makes the job of the police department all the more difficult where it concerns solving violent crimes.


Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police [File: December 12, 2019]

Chester Williams

“You all know that there are always ongoing feuds between rivaling groups, maybe between gangs and in some instances, not gangs but persons who have issues with each other.  And that may result in persons being kidnapped and taken somewhere and killed.”


The commissioner’s theory, not to be needlessly critical of his point of view, excludes the fact that women are also victims of these particular types of crimes.  In mid-September, we reported on the heartbreaking location of nineteen-year-old Adamir Choc whose remains were found in a field along the Never Delay Road.


Marciano Choc

Marciano Choc, Uncle of Deceased [File: September 16th, 2019]

“Around two o’clock, one of our relatives, well my neighbor came and told us that they got a smell there while passing and going down the feeder road and going to the river.  That is when we rushed to the area to see if it was Adamir.  So when we get there at the Never Delay feeder road that’s when I, myself, personally went and identified my niece Adamir Choc.  We are so sad when we saw it, but we’re satisfied when we saw and then we called the police.”


Choc was last seen leaving the parking lot of a nightclub in Belmopan in the company of an individual who may have also been a patron of that establishment.  A few days after her discovery, twenty-two-year-old Nelson Espinosa, a resident of Harmonyville, was arrested and charged for Choc’s murder.  Adamir’s demise succeeded a previous incident in which Yanira Novelo, a mother who was reported missing in Orange Walk, was found stabbed to death and her four-year-old son also injured during the horrid incident.


The prevalence of missing persons turned murder victims is not limited to any one geographical location, despite the fact that, by our count, Belmopan has seen three such cases in 2019, including Densmore Bowman and most recently seventeen-year-old Damion Bregal.  In that case, I asked Assistant Commissioner of Police Joseph Myvett on Monday whether there was any hope of finding the teenager alive.



Isani Cayetano

“Is there any optimism that the young man still be alive or is there concern that something may have happened and now you are in recovery mode?”


ACP Joseph Myvett, Head, NCIB [File: December 16th, 2019]

ACP Joseph Myvett

“At this time we do not know, so we are just following all leads being given to us and we need to talk to those persons whom he was last seen with.”


The modus operandi, it would seem, revolves around familiarity or a false sense of trust.  Most victims are said to have left on their own free will with their suspected killers.  In the case of thirty-four-year-old Darwin Rocke whose decaying remains were found near the Boom/Hattieville Road on August first, police believe that he knew the persons who killed him.


Supt. Alejandro Cowo

Supt. Alejandro Cowo, O.C., C.I.B., Belize City [File: August 5th, 2019]

“Yeah, we believe that he might have known the persons who actually removed him from Belize City and took him to that location.”


Returning to the unfortunate story of Densmore Bowman whose body was found partially buried in a shallow grave on Monday.  It had been almost two weeks since he was last seen in Belmopan socializing before disappearing altogether.  His family also believes that he knew the persons that he was with.


Tiffany Cadle [December 16th, 2019]

“Friends.  All of them.  All of these people he was hanging out with are people he called friends. They go to my brother’s house.Their children play with my brother’s children.They are his friends.”


But there is also the angle of persons receiving death threats that go unreported.


Chester Williams [File: December 12, 2019]

“These are things we have to look after but one of the most salient things we have found in these investigations is the fact that after these persons do go missing, the family would then say to us that they were being threatened for some time.  But no one comes to the police, so we are never aware of the fact that these persons were being threatened until when they disappear and are found dead.”


Isani Cayetano reporting 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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