Belize - Belize News - - Great Belize Productions - Belize Breaking News
Home » Crime » Child’s uncle charged with her murder in Orange Walk
Jun 18, 1999

Child’s uncle charged with her murder in Orange Walk

Story Picture
Today an Orange Walk man was charged with the murder of a child, Karen Cruz on Sunday night. But it wasn’t the man who had been buying her sweets, giving her money or even writing her love letters. It wasn’t the family friend who had been interrogated by police for days, but a member of her own family. His arrest has stunned an already shocked and saddened community which has been following the strange twists and turns of this case since Monday morning. And today it was clear that even more members of Karen’s family will suffer, and suffer for a long time.

Thirty eight year old Antonio Baeza was escorted over to the Orange Walk Magistrate’s Court where he was officially charge with murder. Police say during their investigation, which had originally focused on another man, reports surfaced which strongly linked Baeza to the disappearance of ten year old Karen Mathilda Cruz.

Insp. Russell Blackett, 2nd Officer In Charge, O.W. Police

“We received some vital information, that is to say people actually saw this man in the company of Karen on Sunday night, the thirteenth of June. They were seen in the suspect’s yard.”

Q: “Mr. Antonio, at this time do you have anything to say?”

Antonio Baeza, Accused

“I am not guilty.”

Q: “You’re not guilty? So you’re saying you didn’t kill Karen Mathilda Cruz?”

Antonio Baeza

“No more comments.”

Orange Walk residents say they can’t believe Baeza, who is Karen’s uncle by marriage, could have committed the crime. Baeza, who also worked for the past three years as a technician at an Orange Walk cable company, gave the television station a photo of his niece to air when she was reported missing. The accused was also a part of the group that searched the area and eventually found the body of the standard two student. The Baeza family says the police have got the wrong man.

Gumersindo Baeza, Father of Accused

“Well we feel bad about it because we know it is not true. Even to believe it is not true. We can’t be certain because we were not there but we know as a fact that he told us it is not true, not because he’s my son, but I believe him. Another thing, my daughter-in-law, his wife, told us before he was arrested, that when she went home at eight o’clock he was at his home and did not come out again.”

Q: “What do you think of this that your husband is now the police’s prime suspect?”

Carmita Baeza, Wife of Accused

“They don’t have anything against him because they have searched my house and they have found nothing. So they can’t accuse him because they have no real proof.”

The police believe Baeza, who lives across the street from the Cruz house, lured his niece outside of her home on Sunday, June thirteenth sometime between six thirty and eight p.m.

Insp. Russell Blackett

“As a matter of fact he was seen coming out of his home with the girl, holding her hand.”

Q: “What do you believe transpired at that residence?”

Insp. Russell Blackett

“From what we understand, he attempted to take her towards the bush to the southern part of Orange Walk, in that direction and that the child was reluctant to go. He then turned back towards his latrine in his yard and from there he took her apparently to a pimento enclosed house, where we now believe is the murder scene.”

Q: “So you believe she was raped in that pimento house and then killed?”

Insp. Russell Blackett

“Yes, mam.”

According to Inspector Blackett a number of items were found and have been sent for forensic testing.

Insp. Russell Blackett

“The first test from the forensics, I was not on the scene at that time to see if they took any blood from there. I know yesterday another test was done on the scene and some stains were checked. We have not confirmed if it’s blood as yet. I know some hair was taken from the scene and other things that we need to look over before we reveal them.”

Q: “Were these items found in the latrine or in the pimento house?”

Insp. Russell Blackett

“Inside the pimento house.”

The police believe Baeza, who was allegedly under the influence of alcohol on the night of the crime, waited until early Monday morning to dispose the body in a clump of bushes only a stone’s throw away from his house. Baeza’s co-workers tell News Five that the technician reported to work that Monday morning but appeared very distraught. The employees say they thought it only natural since the missing child was his niece. Baeza maintains he is innocent.

Insp. Russell Blackett

“So far he is saying nothing. The only thing that he has said early this morning is that he realizes that he is in some trouble. Adding to that nothing else, just that he has been crying and you can see that he’s under some stress.”

Q: “So he has not admitted to anything?”

Insp. Russell Blackett

“The only thing he is saying is that it’s a lie and he didn’t do it.”

The Baeza family tells News Five they have retained the services of Attorney Ellis Arnold, not only to clear his name but because they claim the accused was tortured by the police.

Gumersindo Baeza

“We had to get an attorney because they beat him. Even though the Minister says not to beat him they still continue to beat him.”

A charge Blackett says is false. While Arnold was present this morning at the Orange Walk Police Station, the attorney was absent when his client went to court. Baeza has been remanded until July fifteenth. Jacqueline Woods for News Five.

The other main suspect in the case Prospero Sanchez a preacher from Yo Creek has been released from police custody. Although there is evidence that he had written to Karen Cruz trying to initiate a sexual relationship, police say because she is dead they cannot press any charges. News Five was unable to locate the victim’s mother, Melina Cruz today for comment on the arrest of her sister’s husband Antonio Baeza.

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.

Advertise Here

You must be logged in to post a comment Login