General — 20 February 2016 — by Albert J. Ciego

SAN PEDRO AMBERGRIS CAYE, Wed. Feb. 17, 2016–Tragedy struck a young Honduran woman who came to The Jewel to work to make a better life for herself and her 2-year-old baby, whom she is supporting in Honduras. Johanna Samantha Mendez Barrios, 23, was found at about 5:00 yesterday morning, Tuesday, with her throat slit in her apartment in the Parish Apartment Complex , located on Bonefish Street in the Boca del Rio area of San Pedro Town, where she have been living for the past 2 years.

After slashing the woman, the attacker escaped with $500 from her room.

Barrios, was taken to the San Pedro Polyclinic, where she was declared dead on arrival. She has since been taken to the morgue at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in Belize City, where she awaits a post-mortem to certify the cause of death.

Police are not yet certain if the killer was trying to burglarize her apartment, and she came in upon him, at which time he tried to rape her before slitting her throat, or if he had gone into the apartment to wait for her to kill her, but neighbors reported that they heard a struggle, and investigators said that $500 was stolen from her apartment.

Police reported that Barrios, who worked as a waitress at the Los Compadres Bar and Restaurant, was socializing with two friends after the establishment closed for business on Monday night. They then went to her apartment, where they continued socializing and drinking.

They all went out again, but apparently, police say, when Barrios came back alone to her apartment and went inside a man was in her room, who tried to rape her. They began to struggle, during which time the man slashed her throat.

Barrios, who lived on the upper flat, managed to walk downstairs to her friend’s apartment on the lower flat and hammered on the door, seeking aid. She told her neighbor that a man had tried to rape her, and the neighbor saw that her neck was bleeding.

Police said that on their arrival they found two women trying to help Barrios, and they quickly took her, to the Polyclinic, but she died on the way.

Police say that there was no forced entry into the room, and that the key to her room was found still lodged inside the lock. They believe that the intruder went into the room when she came out with her friends after socializing to drop them off, and she forgot to lock the door.

Neighbors told police that when they heard noises coming from her apartment, they did not suspect that a man was trying to rape her.

Superintendent Sandra Bodden, Rural Executive Officer and Commander of San Pedro and Caye Caulker Police, said that they are taking serious measures to prevent, similar incidents from reoccurring in the future. They are increasing patrols and police presence on the weekends, and police foot patrols have also been increased.

The owner of the apartment complex, in an interview with the San Pedro Sun, said that Barrios was well-mannered and was not known to give trouble. She was very friendly, and during her over two years of living at the apartment was not known to be involved in drugs or in any other illegal activities.

According to reports, the Honduran Embassy is communicating with her family in Ceiba to take her back to her country for burial.

Barrios, is the first person to be murdered in San Pedro for the New Year, and the second Honduran woman to be murdered in the island town within one year.


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