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Jul 7, 2021

A Mennonite Butcher is Kidnapped and Beaten in Shipyard

Was it a kidnapping or a case of vigilante justice?  That is the question tonight following an incident in Shipyard, a Mennonite community that usually goes about its business in a laid-back and nonviolent routine.  Earlier this week that peace was shattered when several members of one family viciously attacked a fellow resident at his jobsite, tossed him inside a waiting pickup, took him by force to a distant location and then gave him a sound beating.  It is reportedly the result of an argument between two young men.  This morning, reporter Isani Cayetano headed to Orange Walk District where he found out more about what happened in Shipyard.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Twenty-year-old Abram Andres is recovering from injuries he received on Monday evening when he was snatched from his place of work and walloped by six men, including five members of the Petkau family.  The incident happened in the Mennonite community of Shipyard.  Andres, a butcher at Central Meat Distributors, was inside this slaughterhouse at Camp Eighteen, when a white Ford F-150 pickup arrived on the scene.  The men alighted the vehicle, entered the facility and took him against his will to Camp Forty, where they proceeded to administer a vicious beating on him.


ASP Fitzroy Yearwood, Communications Director, Belize Police Department

“Police responded to a scene in the Shipyard community and when they got there they stopped an F-150 pickup that had five occupants.  These persons were searched and based on a tip, police entered a building not too far from where they stopped these persons where they found a complainant who claimed that he was brought from another community, another area in Shipyard, by these same five men and he was beating by them, he’s claiming that and he was left in that building.”


According to Andres, who spoke with News Five off record for fear of reprisal, the abduction was precipitated by a verbal exchange with a member of the Petkau family sometime prior.  What he did not foresee was the involvement of the young man’s siblings or his father. Once in their custody, Andres was physically assaulted and whipped repeatedly with an electrical cord.  His back bears the brunt of the injuries he received at the hands and feet of the Petkaus.


Fitzroy Yearwood

ASP Fitzroy Yearwood

“We are investigating this from two different angles, one: you were brought to an area from another area.  That would be some form of kidnapping and he is saying that they used violence against him.  He has not shared with investigators as yet what was the reason for them going for him at one spot and taking him to another.”


It’s an unusual occurrence considering the fact that Mennonite communities across the country are known for their peaceful way of life.


Chester Williams

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

“Those persons who had done that kidnapping have been charged by police and they were expected to appear in the Orange Walk magistrate’s court this afternoon.”


This afternoon, forty-one-year-old Johan Petkau, thirty-two-year-old Jacob Petkau, twenty-five-year-old George Petkau and eighteen-year-old Franze Petkau as well as eighteen-year-old Angel Ayala, of August Pine Ridge, appeared before the magistrate’s court in Orange Walk Town.  They were charged jointly for kidnapping and aggravated assault and pleaded not guilty.  With the exception of another male minor who was granted bail in the sum of five thousand dollars, all five adults were remanded to custody at the Belize Central Prison until August tenth. 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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