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Mar 21, 2014

Kayla Pandy found murdered in Bullet Tree falls

Kayla Pandy

Late Thursday evening, News Five reported the alleged murder of twenty-four year old Independence resident Kayla Burgess. The family had previous posted it as a kidnapping, but by seven p.m. Thursday their worst fears had been realized. The twenty-four year old was found by Police in the Bullet Tree Area of the Cayo District, in the rear of her own vehicle. She had been strangled. In this particular case, there is every indication that police have been swift, and they believe the alleged murderer is in custody tonight after he pretended it was a kidnapping to throw off the police. Mike Rudon was in San Ignacio today and has the story.


Mike Rudon, Reporting

Twenty-four year old Kayla Burgess left her home in Independence at seven am Thursday morning. The vehicle she drove, a green Kia SUV, was next seen by family as Police processed it for evidence today. The recent University of Belize graduate was inside, murdered.


Jaime Gonzalez, Head, CIB, San Ignacio

Jaime Gonzalez

“We received information from our counterparts in Belmopan City of a possible kidnapping and that the person was last located in the vicinity of Bullet Tree Village. We responded to the area, we later located a vehicle with the description given to us. That is a Kia Sorrento vehicle, gold in color with a Stann Creek license plate. A view inside the vehicle revealed that there was a body of a female to the very rear of the vehicle.”


Kayla’s family is still in shock. Their ordeal started Thursday afternoon when they received a strange text from Kayla’s phone, soliciting a ransom for her safe return.


Caral Pandy

Caral Pandy, Brother of Deceased

“When I get there I saw my mom and my dad inside the office but then I heard my dad say something like I told her, I told her. Then I got very curios and then my mom told me come in but she didn’t want to alarm me. Then she said check your dad phone, when I check the phone I saw a text from 4:12. The text say bring $250,000 to Cayo tomorrow and nobody will get harm. When my dad called the phone a guy answered. But form the way the text came in, I know how my sister texts, so I told my mom and dad I said you know we can’t sit on this so I contacted the police immediately, so I made a call to the Belmopan Police  Station, they push me around, transfer me from one officer to the next. I had officer Martinez, a police a CIB guy in Mango Creek by the name of Dan, I had his number I said you know what best thing for me to do is contact Dan right away. So I contacted Dan give him all the information, Dan contacted the police here in Cayo the CIB and that’s how they started to operate.”


But that operation was short lived, as within hours they learned that it was no kidnapping, and any hope of Kayla’s safe return was extinguished. But if there is any consolation to be had, it is in the news that the Police believe they have the murderer in custody.


Jaime Gonzalez

“Based on information that we gathered, we located a fellow Vinnie Garbutt, twenty-one years old and his residence was searched based on the strength of our warrant. Whereby we found certain items of evidential value, so far he is detained in custody. We also have an eighteen year old female, Faith Dueck, she is likewise of the same address along with Mr. Garbutt and we them detained pending the outcome of this investigation.”


Caral Pandy

“They have two person in custody, a male and a female, he told us what happened, they said that they interviewed the guy, the guy said that he and my sister get in an altercation and he strangled her with a cord around her neck and then used my sister vehicle to move the body and the girlfriend used his car don’t that’s how they came back.”


Garbutt also had bruises and scratches on his body. It is alleged that Kayla Burgess was in a relationship with Vinnie Garbutt, and Police believe they argued at his home in the bottom flat of this house. Caral is distraught, because he says that if his baby sister needed help he was right there.


Caral Pandy

“The thing that really troubled me, the guy who killed her they had a relationship or something, if she had problems with him she didn’t tell us. Couple months ago Kayla’s vehicle was stolen from Belmopan and we had the gut that it was the same guy that had stolen her vehicle, and the vehicle was found up in Orange Walk. So I now if she had problems with this guy I mean she could have told us about it and we could have did something about it. Because me personally I am very close to her and if she had any problems she could have told me about it but she just kept it to herself. Yesterday when she came up, I told her you know what you are the only one up in Belmopan Kayla, she a person that like concert and stuff, I always worried about she, you are the only one up here, what if something happen, what if someone try to chance you.”


The family is trying to come to grips with somebody killing their baby girl, who they say never hurt anybody in her life.


Caral Pandy

“It’s very hard on us, my mom, Kayla is everything to my mom, she can’t even hold up. To be honest I am the only one that is standing up strong right now for them. Kayla, this Cayo area, when I heard the area Bullet Tree, that’s when I thought the worst of it, I know several incidents around here were people got kidnapped and stuff like that right. When I heard it I just thought the worst.”


The Police Department is in the process of emailing DPP’s office with the information that they have to solicit her advice before charges are laid.


Reporting for News Five, I am Mike Rudon.

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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