Crime Headline — 16 December 2014 — by Kareem Clarke
Crazy chopping in Paraiso!

PARAISO, Corozal District–   A jealous relationship that went terribly wrong has led to the death of a man and a woman who were both mutilated in a jealous rage early yesterday morning on a secluded farmhouse in Paraiso Village, Corozal.

Corozal police said they visited a farm situated about 3/4 miles northeast of Paraiso, where they initially saw the lifeless body of Heidy Atherly, 21, the mother of a 4-year old child, clothed with a black 3/4 jeans pants and sky-blue blouse, lying face up on the ground next to some plantain trees with multiple cut wounds to the head, neck and upper limbs.

A further search inside a small 15′ x 12′ concrete house, which is located nearby, led to the discovery of the lifeless body of Salvadoran cane cutter Fernando Pineda Rivas, 49, who was clothed in a red shirt, long green pants and rubber boots, lying face up next to a bed with multiple chop wounds to his head, neck and upper limbs.

Neighbors told Amandala that yesterday, at about 6:00 a.m., they heard a series of screams coming from the farm, and when they went to see what was happening, they came upon the grisly discoveries, after which they immediately informed police.

We spoke to Clemente Barrera, the man who was the first on the scene, and he said that when he arrived at the scene, the perpetrator was nowhere in sight, and all he saw was blood gushing from the bodies of the victims, who had both been almost decapitated.

“We woke up like 5:30 a.m. and we heard like the lady and the man were fighting. After that, we heard her screaming and shouting for help, so we got our bikes and went by the house, but by the time we got there, they were both badly chopped up. When we saw the man, his heart was still beating; I saw that the woman was chopped all over the face and her clothes were bloody, but she was still alive”, he explained.

According to what we were told, Atherly, who had a troubled past with an obsessive former partner, had previously been in a relationship with the suspect, who resides in another part of the village, for 2 months, but after ending the relationship with him, she went to live with Rivas, whom she had reportedly known for 3 months, at the farmhouse.

We understand that the couple had reportedly been residing on the farm for approximately 21 days, but were being threatened by Atherly’s estranged boyfriend, who police believe made good on his threats when he unexpectedly pounced on them.

When we visited the area, fresh blood trails on the property and thick pools of blood inside the farmhouse lay as a testament of the ruthless bloodbath which unfurled at the crack of dawn in the rural village Paraiso which, when translated in English, means paradise.

The sheer brutality of the attack has left the small community in shock, especially since residents told us that Atherly was known to be “slightly” mentally disabled.

The family of Atherly said that they were surprised by the incident because they didn’t expect such a thing to happen, since the former boyfriend and Rivas were friends.

One relative mentioned that after breaking up with her former boyfriend, Atherly had gone to live with relatives for a month, but due to a misunderstanding with her aunt, she decided to take up residence with Rivas, which is when the couple began receiving constant threats from her ex-boyfriend.

According to the family, the suspect had even gone to the couple’s house several times and promised to chop up both Atherly and Rivas, after which a police report was made.

They therefore believe that the motive was jealousy.

After the bloody scene was processed by forensics personnel, the bodies were transported to the Corozal Community Hospital morgue, where they are to undergo a post-mortem.

Investigators in Corozal have reportedly detained the estranged boyfriend of Atherly – a 67-year-old Salvadoran farmer, as their investigation continues.

Just under a week ago, on Tuesday, December 9, at about 9:15 p.m. Mark Massam, Jr. was also viciously hacked to death on the side of College Road in Corozal Town when an argument ensued between Massam and a friend of his who was his neighbor.

Carlos Cassanova, Jr., 22, who allegedly suffers from a mental disorder, reportedly inflicted as many as 30 severe chop wounds to Massam, even after police arrived on the scene.

According to police, warning shots were fired, but the officers were able to subdue Cassanova only after he was shot in both legs and the right thigh.

Cassanova, Jr. is being treated for his injuries under police guard at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in Belize City, and authorities have noted that he will be charged for the ghastly murder and subjected to a psychological evaluation as soon as he is released from the hospital.

Yesterday’s horrific double murder – the third in 5 days – is notably the 8th and 9th homicide to have taken place in Corozal this year.

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