BELIZE CITY, Mon. Oct. 16, 2017–The remains of Erwin Rodriguez, 17, a student of a Ground Dove Street address, was found at about 2:30 Saturday afternoon in a shallow grave fifty-three days after he vanished, after leaving home to visit his grandmother, who lives in the Jane Usher Boulevard area.
Police said that a search party went to an area near the sea behind the Port of Belize, in Port Loyola, where they found human remains, and a few personal items, buried in a shallow grave under a tree near the sea. The belongings were identified by Silvia Rodriguez as property of her missing son, Erwin Paulino Rodriguez, who was reported missing since Thursday, August 24, 2017. The remains were taken to the morgue, where a post-mortem examination will be conducted.
Rodriguez’s family, along with police and a number of volunteers, searched many days for him. After getting information that he had been killed and his body disposed of in the Dykes Lagoon, a large body of water located between Fabers Road and Jane Usher Boulevard that is used by the Belize Water & Sewerage Services to dispose of the city’s raw sewerage, the search party concentrated their efforts in and near that area. Divers went into the lagoon, but their efforts did not lead to any discoveries.
Last Saturday, October 7, the searchers found Rodriguez’s slippers. They also found Rodriguez’s bicycle, with a substance that appeared to be blood near it.
On Saturday morning, October 14, the group assembled again and went to search in the area of the Dykes. At about 2:30 in the afternoon their worst fears were realized when they unearthed his mortal remains near the spot where they had found his bicycle. The hands and feet of Rodriguez’s corpse were tied, and there were visible injuries to his forehead, and a gunshot wound in his head.
At the site of the sad discovery, the leader and organizer of the search party, Jose Louis Espat, thanked the police and all the residents of the area who had joined in the search. He said that they had helped the family of the youth get closure, and that they can now give him a proper burial.
Rodriguez’s sole surviving brother (another brother of his was killed in January of this year) was grateful for the closure. He wrote on his Facebook page: “Thanks to the good Lord above that we have gotten the closure we had asked for. We found the remains of my little brother, Erwin Rodriguez, and it’s been a great relief that we can now lay him to rest the proper way.
“Big thank you to all who came out and helped in the search to find my little brother, especially to Jose Espat, Ms. Karen, Justin Usher, Gilroy Usher, the police officers, members of El Shaddai Church, and to all the family members and friends. Also to the ones who keep on sending messages through Facebook, texts and calls.”
His brother also thanked God for giving his little brother 17 years of life. He said that it has been great to have him around for those years, and that memories of him will live on in their hearts forever.
“Erwin Paulino Rodriguez, meet you by the river someday, brother. You will be missed by all. WE LOVE U,” he wrote.
A post-mortem examination conducted today on Erwin Rodriguez’s body certified the cause of his death to be cranioencephalic trauma due to multiple facial gunshot wounds. This afternoon his devastated mother, Sylvia Rodriguez, told us that he was buried today at the Eternal Gardens Cemetery at Mile 13 on the George Price Highway. Erwin Rodriguez is survived by his mother, his father, one brother, one sister, and a host of relatives and friends.