Vinnie Garbutt, 21, of the Kontiki area of Cayo, accused of kidnapping and killing his girlfriend, Kayla Burgess, 23, a student of the University of Belize who lived in Independence, was returned to his cell at the Belize Central Prison yesterday after the murder case against him was further adjourned to August 27.
He was brought from the prison to the Belmopan Magistrate’s Court for a preliminary procedure of the case, but the Director of Public Prosecutions informed the court that the case file was not yet available.
Police contend that Garbutt was the person who kidnapped Burgess and killed her by slitting her throat.
He then allegedly covered her head with a plastic bag, after which he placed her body in her vehicle and drove her to an area on the Bullet Tree Road, where he abandoned her body in the vehicle, where she was later found by law enforcement.
Garbutt, it is alleged, then demanded a ransom of $250,000 for her release, cruelly giving her family hope that she was still alive.
The incident occurred on Thursday, March 20, at the home of Garbutt in the Kontiki area of San Ignacio.
Police said that Burgess’ car was locked, and they forcefully opened it and found Burgess with a plastic bag over her face and a plastic fastener strapped around her neck. They began an immediate investigation, which led to Garbutt’s arrest. Garbutt had the keys to Burgess’ vehicle and scratches all over his body, as well as a bloody towel. Also, a bloody pair of slippers was found at his home.
Police say Garbutt confessed to the crime.
Police say that they believe that he killed Burgess and then tried to profit from her death by concocting a hostage scenario and sending a fraudulent ransom note to her family.
On Monday, March 24, Garbutt was taken to the San Ignacio Magistrate’s Court, where he appeared before Magistrate Narda Morgan, who arraigned him on the charge and remanded him to the Belize Central Prison until yesterday, June 24.