LEMONAL, Belize River Valley—At around 2:30 this past Saturday afternoon, a search party of villagers and police officers came upon a decomposed corpse which was buried in a shallow grave near some bushes about 600 feet northeast of St. Luke’s Methodist Primary School building in Lemonal, located in rural Belize.
The search team was made up of members of the family of Denvo Banner Duhaney, 27, a popular cricket player from the village who had been missing since August 9, and to their utter dismay, the body was later identified as their loved one.
Forensics personnel were immediately deployed to the scene, and an on-site post-mortem later revealed that Duhaney died from gunshot wounds to the head prior to being dumped in the grave.
We spoke to the victim’s sister, Arlene Banner, who told us that after pondering his whereabouts for two weeks, his concerned family organized a search in Lemonal on Saturday, which led to the ghastly discovery almost at its very end.
“We didn’t know what to do, where he was, or what had happened to him for 14 days. Between the fifth and the sixth day, we realized that something was wrong. We then contacted all our family members and decided that we were going to do a search up in the village on Saturday. When we reached there, we met some police officers coming out of Lemonal, and they went back with us and we did a thorough search back there, but it was at the last moment when we were coming back out of the pine ridge area, we decided to search one more area, and that’s when we found him,” she said.
Ms. Banner said that she is at a loss as to who might have committed the murder, since the village is close-knit, and therefore, she could not speculate if her brother’s killer might be from the same village.
“I can’t say yes and I can’t say no. Everybody back there are family members; we live like family, like brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, and everything put in one, so I cannot blame my people them from back there, because I do not think that anybody that belongs to this family will do something like that”, she explained.
She also told us that Duhaney was a jovial, quiet person who had a passion for cricket and enjoyed life, but always had manners and respect for his siblings.
The six-foot-four cricket player was last seen at a victory party for his team, which was held in the village on August 9.
At the time, he reportedly told his friends that he was going to see his sister in Guinea Grass, located in Orange Walk; however, no one had seen or heard from him since, and as it turns out, he never did get to leave the village.
We understand that the flesh from Duhaney’s hands had rotted at the time of his discovery.
On November 21, 2008, after spending 18 months in jail for a murder he swore he didn’t commit, Denvo Banner Duhaney, who was 21 at the time, walked free from homicide charges based on a “nolle prosequi” submission by the prosecution.
Duhaney was accused of gunning down Demsley Arnold on February 16, 2007. Arnold was standing at the corner of Vernon Street and Magazine Road when a gunman dressed in a red hood opened fire in his direction and killed him on the spot.
Police who were in the area chased a man who was dressed in a red hooded jacket and caught up with him, later identified as Duhaney.
As for the eyewitness in that case, she was a minor and was believed to be unreliable as a witness.
Reliable sources from the village have told us that Duhaney’s execution may have been in direct retaliation for that murder.
Rural Executive Officer, Inspector Frederick Gordon, told Amandala that while he could not confirm any motive as yet, police are currently investigating all angles of the crime to hopefully bring the perpetrator/s to justice.