BELIZE CITY–Private Denver Villafranco, a 22-year-old soldier of the Belize Defence Force Volunteer Battalion, B Company, in Belize City, died after he was attacked by four men who hit him in the head with a crowbar, slashed the right side of his abdomen with a 4-inch knife, exposing his intestines and stabbed him in the chest multiple times, after which Villafranco was punched, kicked, and beaten by the men, who then left him in a drain and ran away.
The incident occurred at about 7:30 Saturday night at the corner of Sunflower Street and Complex Lane in Lake Independence, just about 150 yards from his home. When police found him in the drain, Villafranco was already dead.
A quick and intense investigation led to three men, who have been detained and police are on the hunt for the fourth person.
Amandala was told that on Friday, Villafanco and a friend were drinking when four men approached, and there was an altercation. On Saturday night, Villafranco had given a man some money to buy a quart of brandy, and as he was walking on Complex Avenue towards Police Street to his friend’s house to drink, he was attacked by four men.
Joyce Bernardez Sankey, his devastated mother, told Amandala that at about 7:00 Saturday night, she was at home making supper when she was alerted by the sound of a commotion that was taking place on Complex Avenue, just a short distance from her house. She said that she drew her curtain to see what was happening and she saw a group of people on the avenue.
Sankey said that she was not alarmed, because fighting among the young men in the area is a common occurrence.
However, shortly after, her niece came and told her that something had happened to Denver. She left her house and went to see what she was talking about and that was when she saw her son on the ground, dead. She was with him for about 15 minutes before the police came.
Sankey said that Villafranco had come from work at the BDF B Company, changed his clothes and told her that he was going to visit his baby.
She was aware that he had parted a fight that occurred on Friday, but did not believe that he would be dead, less than 24 hours after doing a good deed.
Sankey said that Villafranco was easy-going and friendly. He was not a troublemaker and was not involved in gangs or violent activity, said the grieving mother.
Private Villafranco is survived by an infant child; his mother, Joyce Bernardez Sankey; 6 sisters, including Lurnette Sankey Young; four brothers, and a host of relatives, and friends.
He will also be missed by his extended family, the officers and soldiers of his unit, B Company of the BDF Volunteers.