BELMOPAN, Fri. Feb. 9, 2018– Cruz Castillo, a suspect in the murder of Israel Perez, leapt forward at and tried to kick Pastor Louis Wade, who was performing the role of a media representative of Plus TV, as Castillo and another suspect, Stanley Herrera, were being taken to the Belmopan Magistrate’s Court yesterday afternoon to be arraigned.
Police who were escorting the duo quickly intervened.
The attempted attack occurred even though Cruz and Herrera’s hands were handcuffed together, and the police escort was in close proximity. Fortunately, Wade was not injured.
After this incident, Perez’s accused murderers were taken into the courtroom, and when the proceedings were over, they were remanded until their next court date, in April.
Police said that Castillo had been taken to court on Tuesday on a charge of handling stolen goods after he was seen driving Perez’s vehicle, which was found parked in his, Castillo’s, yard in Cotton Tree.
Police said that a search of his house led to the discovery of some personal items belonging to Perez. Castillo was remanded until today, which allowed police some time to conduct further investigations into the murder.
The body of Israel Perez, 27, a clerk at the Immigration Department in Belmopan, was found in a shallow grave in Harmonyville, Cayo District, at about 6:00 Monday morning, February 5. He had been reported missing by his family, who hadn’t seen him since Friday, January 26, when he left home to go to work. Police, and Perez’s family and friends, searched for him extensively. Nine days after his family last saw him, his body was found by a family friend who went to look for him Monday morning in Harmonyville after seeing his vehicle being driven on a feeder road several times, with someone other than Perez behind the steering wheel. A foul smell led the family friend to the spot where he found Perez’s decomposing, partially exposed body. He had been stabbed to death, his feet were tied, and he was wearing only boxer shorts.
Police investigations led them to charge two persons the well-liked clerk had called “friends” — Castillo and Herrera. The motive behind the brutal murder is not yet known.
Perez’s family said that Castillo and Perez had a close relationship, and that Castillo was like a big brother to him.