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Mar 16, 2022

Worst Fear Comes True: Mother Says She Got No Justice for Daughter’s Murder

Keona Ara, Deceased

A Black-man Eddy family is trying to get justice for the 2017 murder of Keona Ara. Two men were charged in connection with the homicide and while the family was assured that sufficient evidence had been gathered by police to secure a conviction, five years later, the accused men have been acquitted of the charge. The ruling has crushed the family and it seems that the twenty-one day window during which an appeal could be made expired today. Today, Ara’s mother Sherlene Mai spoke out.


Duane Moody, Reporting

The mother of Keona Ara is speaking out today after her worst fear was confirmed in late February. Teakettle residents Shaylon Santos and Jamie Patnett, who were charged for the March 2017 murder of eighteen-year-old Keona Ara, were acquitted of the charge in the Belmopan Supreme Court on February twenty-third. Sherlene Mai says that she has been trying to get an audience with the D.P.P. so that an appeal could be filed.


Sherlene Mai, Mother of Deceased

Sherlene Mai, Mother of Deceased

“I am not satisfied with this. I am trying to appeal this case and I hope for the best because I am not satisfied. Keona was my daughter and they are telling me now, that five years is the most value of my daughter. I’ve been telling them that I need to appeal this case. I’ve been to the D.P.P.’s office, I’ve been back to the Supreme Court, I’ve been back to the D.P.P.’s office and they tell me she is not there. I need to come in and see her; I say, “Where can I find her?”. They say you need to go to Belize City. I went to Belize City and I still can’t meet up with her and I really need to appeal this case.”


Shaylon Santos and Jamie Patnett, Acquitted of Murder

Back in March of 2017, Ara was viciously murdered inside a house in Belmopan. She was stabbed multiple times to the body and later dumped at a garbage site just outside of Belmopan and set on fire.  Mai disclosed information which the media was not privy to. Today, however, she did say that contrary to what is being said, her daughter was a key witness in a case and turned up dead one week later.  News Five’s archives also show that from August of 2020, Mai was worried about getting justice for her daughter. She speaks about evidence not presented before the court and reportedly missing.


Sherlene Mai

“From the beginning I was in that courtroom from the start to the end and I knew the case was going somewhere where only God can bring it back because the files were going missing. I went back to the police station, I spoke to a high ranking officer and I told him this is what is going on, this is what’s happening and this is what’s taking place. And he said, “Miss Mai, do you trust the police department?”; I said yes. “Well there is no way those guys can walk. We have strong and solid evidence that can convict those guys.” I said, “but I was in the courtroom and I heard new statement being brought forward, my statement went missing, my daughter’s statement went missing.” So I know from the beginning that this case is not going to sit right.”



“Have you spoken to the police commissioner or anybody from the police?”


Sherlene Mai, Mother of Deceased

Sherlene Mai

“I made several attempts to see him; I cannot see him. I made several calls and text and nobody call me from the police department, nobody answer my call. So it is like me against the world right now. So I am pleaded to the public as a mother to please stand up. This is our right. We leave too many things go unanswered.”


Now, according to the Court of Appeal Act, provision for an appeal is within twenty-one days following the perfection of the order. That deadline is quickly approaching. So looking ahead, Sherlene Mai says that she wants to file a civil suit, but needs help to do so.


Sherlene Mai

“I just need the help because as a single mother, yoh only could come up with the ideas, but yoh need the support. The attorneys are there. They are there ready to take up the challenge, but as you know to even sit and talk to an attorney, it costs money.”


Anyone who would like to assist Mai with a legal fund can make a deposit to her La Inmaculada Credit Union account number: 31758. Duane Moody 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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