Crime — 23 July 2013 — by Albert J. Ciego
Missing taxi operator was beaten to death

Post-mortem results say Jose Umana was beaten in the head with a blunt object

An onsite post-mortem carried out on the decomposed body of missing taxi operator Jose Mario Umana of Belmopan has revealed that he was beaten in the head with a blunt object, which led to his death. The autopsy was carried out on Wednesday, July 18, in an area near the Hector Silva Airstrip by the George Price Boulevard, near the George Price Highway.

At the conclusion of the autopsy, Umana, 45, was taken to Valley of Peace Village, where he was buried immediately. Umana had been missing for 5 days when he was found decomposed under a cohune tree in the area by his brother-in-law, Martin Aleman, about 4:30 that Wednesday evening.

Police said that the death has been ruled as murder, and that they are following many leads.

Lucia Aleman, of Belmopan, Umana’s common-law wife, told police that she last saw Umana alive at about 9:30 Saturday morning, July 13, when he was eating at her stall at the Belmopan Market, while attending to his taxi.

Shortly after a man came up to him and requested his taxi service. After buying fruits from her stall and from another stall, the man got into Umana’s taxi car and they departed to parts unknown. After about 15 minutes she tried to contact him by phone, but he did not answer, and she got no answer several times throughout the day on Saturday, July 13, when she tried to call him.

She became alarmed when about 8:00 that evening, he still had not returned home, nor was he answering her calls. She called her brother, Martin, and told him that Jose was missing and something had happened to him.

Lucia Aleman told police that throughout her seven years living with Umana, he was at home by 8:00 in the evening, and he always called her frequently when he was on a job.

Marin Aleman said that in searching for Umana on Wednesday, he came to the George Price Boulevard area and while driving his car slowly on the boulevard, his attention was drawn to some buzzards that were circling in the area.

He stopped and got out of his car and went to see what had attracted the birds, and that was when he found his brother-in-law on the ground behind a cohune tree. He was bare-footed, and he was lying face down.

Police, however, do not believe that Umana was killed in the area, but rather, that he was killed elsewhere and his body brought to the area and put under the cohune tree.

Lucia Aleman told police that Jose Umana was in possession of $5,000 at the time he went missing, and the money was to buy a car. Police, however, said that they could not confirm this, and also, that no money was found with him.

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