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Jan 20, 2020

American Tourist Goes Missing at Rendezvous Caye

Alison MacKenzie

An American woman is missing in Belize and her family is desperately trying to find her. Tourist Alison MacKenzie has been in Belize since December and on Friday she and her boyfriend headed out to Rendezvous Caye – a small island some forty minutes away from Belize City.  MacKenzie was onboard an overnight tour with other visitors and was reportedly drinking on Friday night. She was last seen going into her tent where they had camped on the island. Police are still investigating the circumstances of her disappearance, as all search efforts have proven unsuccessful. Reporter Andrea Polanco tells us more in the following story.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

“It has been forty eight hours now and not only missing, but feared no longer alive. I want her home with us, no matter how she may be found. I want my daughter back” – those are the words of a mother, Cherie MacKenzie of Prescott Arizona, desperately trying to locate her missing daughter

Alison MacKenzie. Search efforts are underway for the forty-three-year-old American national who’s gone missing on Rendezvous Caye in Belize. MacKenzie and her musician boyfriend fifty-eight-year-old Paige Rote were guests on a fifteen-member over-night catamaran tour with Raggamuffin Tours on the caye located twenty-one miles south east of Belize City. According to Rote, when he woke up MacKenzie was gone.

 

Hilberto Romero

Sr. Supt. Hilberto Romero, Deputy Head, National Crimes Investigation Branch

“Information is that they arrived on the island on Friday and they were camped on tents and she was last seen walking around the island around ten p.m. On Saturday, around six a.m., Paige Rote reported that when he woke up he couldn’t find his girlfriend and he made this report to the captain.”

 

An immediate search for MacKenzie on Rendzevous Caye didn’t turn up anything. The authorities were called in that same morning. The Belize Coast Guard searched the area – but MacKenzie was nowhere to be found over the weekend. All search efforts today proved futile.

 

Roque Canul

Lieutenant Roque Canul, Operations Officer, Belize Coast Guard

“Since Saturday we have deployed one unit; a boat and a crew. They have been doing searches in the area of Rendezous Caye; English Caye; Middle Long Caye. Those are the surrounding areas near Rendezvous. Also, this morning we had the assistance of the B.D.F air wing who conducted flyovers in the area to see if we can spot something from the air, however, we have not come up with anything.”

 

While police reports say that MacKenzie was last seen around ten on Friday night – her family claims they have received information that she was seen going into her tent around two-thirty on Saturday morning.  According to police, MacKenzie was drinking that night. Other reports say that MacKenzie didn’t appear to be her usual self. So, what happened on Rendezvous Caye? Did MacKenzie go for a night swim and got swept away? Or did something more sinister happen on the sandy beaches of this idyllic caye?

 

Sr. Supt. Hilberto Romero

“Information is that she was drinking on Friday night.”

 

Duane Moody

“Sir, is there anything to suspect that something went wrong or foul play on the island?”

 

Sr. Supt. Hilberto Romero

“Well, investigators are at the island and searches are being conducted to find out what are the circumstances that led to her disappearance. At this time there is not much to go on and investigators are working on the case.”

 

Reporter

“Sir, is Mr. Rote a suspect in her disappearance at this time?”

 

Sr. Supt. Hilberto Romero

“I will not call him a suspect. We are conducting an investigation and as we gather information we will try to ascertain what transpired there.”

 

Lieutenant Roque Canul

“Information was that sometime during the course of the night, Friday, she started behaving or acting somewhat suspicious.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Are you able to elaborate – did she seem sad or overly excited - what was she showing?”

 

Lieutenant Roque Canul

“I would say kinda erratic – this is what we gathered from the tour guys who were out there along with them.”

 

Alison MacKenzie

Andrea Polanco

“Have you gathered anything as to her state – was she in a depressed state?”

 

Lieutenant Roque Canul

“So far we have not received that kind of information.”

 

It’s been two days since MacKenzie disappeared without a trace. She is a resident of  Prescott, Arizona and a mom of two girls. She and her boyfriend Paige Rote arrived in Belize in December 2019. They were scheduled to return home in May of this year. MacKenzie’s family in the U.S.A. is pleading for help. Her mom, Cherie MacKenize, wrote on Facebook, “Everyone, everywhere, I am asking for your help…We have received three different stories about what happened that morning, none of them consistent with the others. We are getting nowhere finding out where she is.” We reached out the tour company, Raggamuffin Tours; they say they are unable to give comment until the investigation is done. In a press release issued today, the Caye Caulker based company wrote MacKenzie was one of fifteen passengers accompanied by the standard crew of three persons. The release goes on to say, “We are cooperating fully with law enforcement officers in their investigation…we have given the police comprehensive details of all passengers.” The tour company ends its release saying that they are distressed and concerned about MacKenzie and they are in contact with the family.

Police say that MacKenzie’s personal belongings were found on the island. They also made checks to see if she had gone out early to kayak but all the gears and craft were in place. The Belize Coast Guard says that search efforts will continue for the next forty-eight hours to try to find MacKenzie. Sea conditions on Friday night weren’t favourable – but authorities are hoping MacKenzie is still alive.

 

Lieutenant Roque Canul

“You know the weather that is passing through the country at this point in time. Friday was a rainy night and not the best conditions out at sea. The area in general is very close to the reef but also the deeper areas is not very far from that caye specifically.  We are being optimistic. We’re still hoping that we will find her somewhere in the nearby areas.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So, chances of surviving out there – how’s that?”

 

Alison MacKenzie

Lieutenant Roque Canul

“Being that it is closer to the reef and we have a big island which is Middle Long Caye, nearby, chances are that she may have drifted to the bigger island.   I really want to stress on the importance of being attentive from the part of the tour guides. If the information was that she was behaving erratic, that is something that should have considered from the beginning instead of letting it pass by without informing relatives or relevant authorities; perhaps, it would have been something that could have been avoided.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.


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