She left school in Belmopan, but never reached her home in San Ignacio, Cayo
BELIZE CITY Thurs. Oct. 4, 2012
Less than six hours after her parents reported her officially missing at the San Ignacio Police Station, Suzenne Martinez, 21, a student of the University of Belize at the Belmopan Campus, was found dead around three blocks from her home in San Ignacio.
The heartbreaking discovery was made around 6:10 a.m. yesterday, Wednesday. She was found not far from the 18th Street junction with Benque Road, in the drain near a drugstore.
Witnesses who saw her said that she appeared to have been thrown in the drain. She was partially naked. She was wearing only underwear, and no pants; and her blouse was drawn up, leaving her breasts exposed.
A liquid of some sort was coming out of her nose, and there were a lot of bruises on her body — which were especially visible because of her fair complexion – particularly on her legs. She apparently had been strangled to death.
Police, who noted that Martinez’s laptop computer and cellphone were missing, say that they have a person in custody who they believe can help them in their investigations.
Hamid Martinez, Suzenne’s father, told Amandala that his daughter left home on Tuesday morning, as usual, to catch the bus to go to school in Belmopan and typically would not return any later than 8:30 p.m., but at times earlier.
He said that when 9:00 p.m. passed and she had still not returned, he began to get worried, but not alarmed. He then began to call her friends, who told him that she had been at school throughout the day. He said that around 10:30 p.m. he began to get frantic, feeling that something was wrong.
He decided to wait another hour, when the last bus from Belize City arrived in Cayo, to see if she would be on board, but when the bus arrived, Suzenne was not on it, and around 11:45 that Tuesday night, he went to the police and reported her missing. Police then began their search, but to no avail.
The following morning, Wednesday, her brother Jamid was going to work when he saw a crowd of people gathered around police on 18th Street near their home, and on approaching the scene he was told that a body had been discovered.
Jamid said that when he saw the crowd and the police, he had a feeling in the gut that it was Suzenne, but when he approached, they didn’t initially want him to see her, and he told them that he knew that there was something that they had found that they would possibly need him to identify.
They told him that they found a female’s body, and that was when he was allowed to see her. He then went home and told their parents that she had been found.
Neighbors did not hear anything in the hours before the discovery, and police believe that she was put there sometime at dawn. They also noted boot prints on her body.
Police said that the person they have detained is also of interest in the murder of Robert Lewis in Belmopan, which occurred early Monday morning, October 1, 2012. The detainee is from Maya Mopan, and when police searched him, they found several pieces of jewelry from the Lewis’ home.
Suzenne’s cellphone was also found on him, they said, but the SIM card had been replaced.
Superintendent Ralph Moody, Commander of San Ignacio Police, said that the boot prints on Suzenne’s body, which were also over her genitals, matched the suspect’s boot prints. The suspect was found at his sister’s house, which was not far from Suzenne’s house, around 7:30 a.m., and he was taken into custody. Suzenne’s laptop computer, so far, has not been found.
The detainee was taken to the San Ignacio Hospital, where his blood was taken for DNA examination.
Suzenne Martinez was a second year student of the University of Belize in Belmopan and would have graduated next January. She is survived by her father Hamid Martinez and mother Lily, her brother Jamid, and a host of relatives and friends, as well as her wider family of the UB Campus in Belmopan
The death of Suzenne Martinez is now being jointly investigated by Belmopan and San Ignacio CIB, since one person is the main suspect in both murder cases.
The detained suspect was released on bail last week Thursday on sexual assault charges; he has a case of rape and robbery pending in the Belmopan Court, which he allegedly committed in 2011.
Her father believes that, since Suzenne had been at school that day, it was more than likely that she was attacked when she was going home.