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Jul 7, 2008

A husband and wife are murdered in Cayo District

Story PictureIt is fifth murder to occur in the last five days in the Cayo District. And the latest gruesome murder of a couple involved in the real estate business is sending shock waves paralyzing the communities in the western part of Belize where a gang of marauding gunmen appears to be operating lawlessly. The murder of a woman on Friday was preceded by the murder of a father and son on Thursday last week. Marion Ali reports from the latest murder scene.

Marion Ali, Reporting
Police are trying to piece together the motive for the murder of the couple. So far, all that cops can say is that someone entered the home of the two real estate agents, fifty-eight year old Michael Hill and his wife, fifty-five year old Donna, in Cristo Rey Village, and caught them by surprise. The grisly scene provided a sketch of what might have happened.

Allan Spring, Friend of Murdered Couple
“When I arrived I saw that the house was open, it didn’t look right. As I approached the house, I saw items scattered about. As I approached the front door, the front door was opened and I looked down and I saw blood and a bloody rag. At that point I backed down, I sent my wife for help and continued to watch the house and neighbours and friends and the police continued to arrive and ultimately it became apparent that the house had been ramshackled, that violence had occurred and later come police and soldiers located Mike and Donna Hill’s bodies.”

The couple’s bodies were recovered from the Macal riverbank about two hundred yards from their home and San Ignacio Police are leaning toward robbery as a motive for the homicides.

Sgt. Enrique Aldana, O.C., C.I.B., San Ignacio
“The bodies appeared to have gunshot wounds to her face—that’s the lady—and the man had a gunshot wound behind his left ear. They were transported to the San Ignacio hospital where they were pronounced dead. Their bodies are presently at the morgue awaiting a post-mortem examination.”

Marion Ali
“Any leads as to what might have happened, who could have done it, the motives?”

Sgt. Enrique Aldana
“Well, we believe the motive was robbery since a Toyota Hilux at this present moment is missing.”

Marion Ali
“Anything from inside the house missing?”

Sgt. Enrique Aldana
“Well, we cannot say right now but what we know is a Toyota Hilux missing with license plate YC-21637. It’s gold in colour.”

Marion Ali
“I understand mister Hill also had a shot gun. Was that recovered?”

Sgt. Enrique Aldana
“That is not recovered. That is what is missing also, a twenty gauge pump action shotgun. It’s a licensed firearm.”

Marion Ali
“And that he also had big amounts of money on him because he paid his employees on a weekly basis.”

Sgt. Enrique Aldana
“Well, that is what we are trying to ascertain at this point in time. We need to visit certain people to get certain information from them, to ascertain the quantity of money they had in their possession, if they had any.”

The Hills were last seen shopping at the San Ignacio Town Market on Saturday morning and neighbours suspect that they were murdered between Saturday night and Sunday morning at their home just off the Cristo Rey Road, about four miles from the Western Highway.

On that night, the watchman was assigned to this house the couple were building on land they had recently subdivided for sale about a quarter mile away from their home. Villagers say the couple were peace-loving people who contributed to the community.

Jovanni Montalvan, Chairman, Cristo Rey Village
“They’re taking it to heart because it’s something that hasn’t happened here, something that you find two people, outsiders that’s been doing good here, helping us, employing workers and everything. Such a thing just come and happen on one day, it could be another day. It’s something way out of hand.”

The incident has shocked the local communities and investors, concerned about their own safety, are appealing for regular police presence in the area.

Jovanni Montalvan
“We are trying to get a police station, I hope now that the government push and everything that the village needs and help us or push us in trying to build a police station so that we can feel more safer in this village and people will feel more safer. Right now things will start to come up with all foreigners that live here in our village to feel strange and scared and they are people that are here and helping villagers with jobs and a lot of things. So we want the government to push us and help us with those things we are asking for.”

Allan Spring
“They have had to let some people go and they had some new workers and I’m sure the police and the investigators are looking into that. That did not have to happen. The robbery was already done, they were already subdued, there was no reason to kill them. They were murdered in such a way and left in the woods to be found.”

Marion Ali
“You have any idea who might want to do this? I understand they are a very nice couple, always trying to help and willing to help.”

Allan Spring
“They’re very involved in the community, they’re very good people, good friends and neighbours and they always were trying to help out people.”

Daryl Lynch, Friend of Murdered Couple
“This is WOW! … blows my mind. Een if they catch who did it, it won’t bring them back. That’s the sad part of it, they’re gone for whatever reason, I don’t know. Like I said, when you read about those things happening in Belize City you don’t think so much about it because it’s an everyday thing there. That’s why we’re here because it was a safe peaceful place to live. That’s too close to home; right down the road.”

But while Cristo Rey villagers try to move on with their lives, speculation is high that the victims knew their murderers.

Sgt. Enrique Aldana
“We are trying to ascertain if the person knew the area or not.”

Marion Ali
“You think it’s one or two or more people?”

Sgt. Enrique Aldana
“We cannot say at this point in time Marion.”

Marion Ali
“Do you have any suspects?”

Sgt. Enrique Aldana
“We have a number of people detained at this point in time for questioning only.”

Marion Ali
“Where does the investigation take you from here? I saw earlier that some people from the U.S. Embassy were here. In what capacity were they here?”

Sgt. Enrique Aldana
“Since the two persons who are dead are U.S. nationals, the U.S. embassy was informed and they are here to do a follow up.

Marion Ali
“Do you feel that the people who did this were Belizeans or Belizeans acting along with maybe people from other countries or what … former employees?”

Sgt. Enrique Aldana
“That’s what we are investigating right now.”

San Ignacio police are asking the public’s help to locate the Hill’s missing gold Toyota Hilux pick-up truck, which was stolen the night of the incident. Reporting for News Five, Marion Ali.


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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