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Apr 30, 2012

Missing Fishermen; but boat had blood and holes

Mejadi Tepaz

It has been nine days since forty-nine year old Silverio Tepaz, fifty year old Teobaldo Tepaz and twenty year old Mejadi Tepaz went missing. The boat that the three Sarteneja fishermen chartered was found submerged near Glover’s Reef. A massive search and rescue was spearheaded by the Belize Coastguard, while other fishermen and family members mounted their own concerted efforts to find them. Acting Commandant for the Coastguard, Lieutenant Elton Bennett says that in addition to the elapsed time, blood and holes in the vessel, all tell a tale of foul play.


Lt. Comm. Elton Bennett, Ag. Commandant, Belize Coastguard

“Because the time has elapsed, we decided to suspend the case and we have been searching almost for seven days now and our search and rescue policy would mean that once there is no signs of life and there is no signs of any further development, we would suspend the case until we have anything new. Sometime I think late Friday, we received information that some of the family members found what appeared to be signs of blood on a piece of tarp. They handed it over to the police and the police are doing forensics on it and they are taking it from that end. We also found some holes inside the deck of the vessel.”


Jose Sanchez

Elton Bennett

“Okay, the boat was partially submerged, so this is during dive itself?”


Lt. Comm. Elton Bennett

“Yes this was during the dive. We were able to operate during low tide; able to get in and do some more searches on the vessel. So after we discovered the three holes in the vessel, we took a closer look at it and so far it appears to have been maybe a metal blunt object—possibly an anchor or an axe—from onboard the vessel. There are signs of residue just around the hole on the deck of the vessel.”


Jose Sanchez

“So the holes are actually fresh?”


Silverio Tepaz

Lt. Comm. Elton Bennett

“Yes it appears to be fresh. I’m sure the fishermen would not have gone on the way with holes in the vessel.”


Jose Sanchez

“Do you think these holes could have caused it to submerge?”


Lt. Comm. Elton Bennett

“Not really, the hole protruding through the keel of the vessel was not that of a large hole that would cause it to submerge immediately. The vessel we believe drifted from the inner channel onwards to Glover’s Reef where it was grounded. So we don’t believe the holes really caused it to sink.”


Jose Sanchez

“I know from the first interview you did, you did mention that there was a possibility of foul play. That was always part of the investigation wasn’t it?


Lt. Comm. Elton Bennett

“Yes whenever we do cases like this and we find anything suspicious—for example; the engine was missing from the vessel—we immediately start looking at other possibilities of maybe foul play. To speak about the engine now, looking at a closer view at it from the trans from where the engine is secured to the vessel, it appears to have been wrenched off not screwed off. This as I mentioned earlier could have been when the vessel ran over a piece of reef or the wave action on the vessel itself caused it to have been wrenched off. So we’re continuing looking at it as a possible foul play.”


Jose Sanchez

“So definitely the blood on the tarp that the family has handed over has really changed the direction of this case?”


Lt. Comm. Elton Bennett

“Yes. Once we go forward and the forensics is done on the blood stains then we will be able to further look on the case from a different perspective.”


Jose Sanchez

“Now during your years in the Coast Guard when people go missing at sea, do we normally recover bodies? What’s the likelihood at this point?”


Lt. Comm. Elton Bennett

“Normally body will take about two days if it is a case of drowning to rise. We believe the accident happened Saturday night. That will leave us almost no chance of finding a body floating at sea unless it would have been washed up on an island somewhere.” 

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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8 Responses for “Missing Fishermen; but boat had blood and holes”

  1. Josephino Estroberto Pesomedio says:

    Foul play, but by who?
    Who roams the waters at full liberty and authority and are well armed????? Just a thought, the imagination is a very free thing.

  2. Storm says:

    Coast Guard needs a lot of improvement, new and better equipment, maybe a seaplane or helicopter.

    Let’s face it, we have pirates working our waters. We have drug boats working our waters. We have unlicenced foreign fishing boats working our waters. And we have tourists coming here who need better protection in emergencies.

    Our national waters are too big and have too many islands to secure them and protect them just using skiffs. GOB needs to look at some way to improve the situation.

    Do you agree or disagree?

  3. now i see says:

    Drugs, drugs drugs. Remember the plane? I dont have to be a police to know this common sense.

  4. Eye In The Sky says:

    That is what happen when you want to make easy money transporting drugs. YOU DIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Look like Belizeans will never learn.

  5. GUMA says:

    We should not pass judgement on these men if we do not have the facts. I do agree that some people transport drugs but that does not necessarily mean that these men were doing that.

    Please think that these three fishermen have wives, moms, dads, sisters, bothers, children and other relatives who are missing them and who are going through a horrible time. We must pray for them. It is not easy to have three of your family members missing all at once.

    I am sure if they were your relatives, you would not appreciate ill intended comments.

    My prayers are with all the Tepaz family.

  6. End Of Days says:

    “your a$$ is about to be missing, who is gonna find you? some old man fishing.” DMX. The world is falling apart; well not the world, but the human race.

  7. End Of Days says:

    Eye In The Sky, people desperate out ya buddy. This is a phuking dog eat dog world, no one gives a shyt bout no one, you eat or die, you kill or starve. Humans are being reduced to pure survival instincts.

  8. p. griffith says:

    My prayers go out to the Tepaz family who have lost their loved ones. We don’t know the circumstances surrounding this case, however any lost of human life is a tragedy.However, the GOB needs to step up, attaining better and more modern equipment for it’s coast guard. They can only work with what they have on hand.
    My mistake the GOB cannot control the crime tsunami on land, so how can they control it on the waters of Belize?

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