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COMPOL weighs in on missing men

GeneralCOMPOL weighs in on missing men

Photo: COMPOL Chester Williams

by Charles Gladden

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Jan. 26, 2023

Over the past few weeks, we have been reporting on efforts to locate three men who had been reported missing, one after the other since Christmas of last year, beginning with 27-year-old Akeem Augustine of Flamboyant Street; then a few days later, 23-year-old American national Kyle Latchman of Dean Street; and recently, 29-year-old Christopher Sosa of Prince Street who was reported missing on January 5.

Relatives and friends of the missing men have been searching for them since they disappeared, with the hope of finding their loved ones alive, or at the very least, to find their bodies so they can give them a proper burial. Since the searches began, there have been reports of shallow graves being found, graves that might contain the remains of one or more of the missing individuals, but on further investigation those reports turned out to be false.

That was until earlier this week when police discovered human skeletal remains which are suspected to be of a male in a shallow grave behind the Port of Belize compound. The remains were buried with a green camouflage shirt and a pair of black jeans pants. The Augustine family believes that the remains that were found were not those of Akeem Augustine, because he wasn’t wearing such attire at the time of his disappearance. They have reportedly received anonymous reports, however, that he was accosted and killed while at a gathering that he attended with a friend, and it has even been suggested that there is a video of this attack.

After the remains were found this week, Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams told local reporters that the Police Department would be examining their missing persons’ database to see if any individual who had been reported missing was wearing attire similar to that found in the grave behind the Port.

Commenting on the missing Christopher Sosa and Akeem Augustine, the ComPol said they were trying to confirm information they had received that Sosa had gone to the US, and in regard to Augustine, he said that while they still hold on to hopes that he’s alive, they suspect “that he may have been taken by some friend and may have been killed.”

Commenting on another missing person, 21-year-old Jahson Gonguez of Curl Thompson Street in Belize City who was reported missing by his family via social media, the ComPol said, “We have received a notification from the US Border Security agent that he had crossed into the US and is in the US … we know for a fact that he is not dead, and his family should know that he is not.”

In 2021, Gonguez was accused of firing shots at Police Sergeant Noel Muschamp and was charged with the use of deadly means of harm and wounding. He was thus remanded at the Belize Central Prison on June 28 but later released on October 29, 2021.

He then returned to the prison once more on February 11, 2022, for “being the member of a gang” and was then released on June 20, 2022.

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