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Husband arraigned for conch shell death of American wife

GeneralHusband arraigned for conch shell death of American wife

Photo: Maynor Rene Ancona, charged

BELIZE CITY, Fri. Apr. 12, 2024

Tonight, the husband of 46-year-old Jennifer Lynn Griffith, an American national of Texas USA, who died after being hit in the head by a conch shell during a brawl that involved employees of a San Pedro bar, is out on bail after being arraigned on five criminal charges, one of which included manslaughter by negligence, following police’s identification of him as the person who threw the conch shell.

This morning shortly before 11:00, 41-year-old Maynor Rene Ancona, a labourer of Tres Cocos Area, San Pedro Town, the common-law husband of the victim, was escorted off the island of San Pedro around 9:00, and was ferried to Belize City on a boat.

At around 10:15 a.m., Ancona arrived in Belize City, where an hour later, at around 11:15 a.m. he was escorted into Court #6, where he appeared before a Senior Magistrate in the presence of his attorney, Orson “OJ” Elrington.

Ancona was read one count of manslaughter by negligence for Griffith’s death; one count of disorderly conduct for an unlawful fight; two counts of harm upon Elmer David Castro, 34, a tour guide of Mile 10, North San Pedro; and also harm upon Belizean cook, Edeinie Yurizet Valladatez, 30; and one count of wounding upon American business owner, Daghan Ozberk, 55, all residents of Mile 10, North San Pedro Town.

In court, no plea was taken from Ancona for 4 of the 5 counts, with the exception of disorderly conduct, to which he pleaded not guilty.

The prosecutor from San Pedro, Sgt. Roman Andrew, informed the court that the Crown is awaiting directives from the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) as it relates to three of the other four charges (the two counts of harm and the wounding charge), as it is not certain yet if these 3 charges will be dealt with on indictment or summarily.

As it related to the offense of manslaughter by negligence, no plea could be taken from Ancona, as that is an indictable offense for the High Court.

There were no objections by the prosecutor to bail being granted to Ancona; the prosecutor only asked for stringent conditions to be laid, as the police investigation is ongoing at this time.

With that, the sitting Senior Magistrate of Court #6 offered bail to Ancona in the sum of $10,000 plus one surety of the same amount or two sureties of $5,000 each, which he met.

Conditions for Ancona’s bail are that he must attend all his court sessions as ordered by the court; he must surrender all his travel documents to the Clerk of Court; he is not to apply for any other travel documents without the court’s permission; he is not to leave the country without permission from the court; he is not to contact or interfere with any of the victims in the case or any other prosecution witnesses; he is not to be within 100 yards of the virtual complainant (v/c); and he is to report to the San Pedro Police Station twice a week, Wednesdays and Fridays, between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.

According to the police report of the circumstances surrounding Griffith’s death, police, after being notified of the death of a female at Ambergris Hope Hospital on Sunday, April 7, 2024 at 10:50 a.m., visited the Emergencia Ward, where they saw the lifeless body of a Caucasian woman lying on a bed. Four large cut wounds were observed in the back of the woman’s head.

The woman was later identified as Jennifer Lynn Griffith, 46, an American national of Texas, USA, who was living in the Tres Cocos Area of San Pedro. Upon investigating, police learned that at about 8:40 p.m. on Saturday night, April 6, Griffith, who was in the company of her common-law husband, Maynor Ancona, visited the Ambergris Hope Hospital suffering from head injuries, and was treated by Dr. Paola Ack, who observed a fracture to her head and as a result, recommended that an X-Ray and CT Scan be done. However, Griffith reportedly refused and discharged herself from the hospital.

On Sunday, April 7, 2024, at about 2:15 a.m., Griffith was returned to the hospital by an RRR ambulance, and was pronounced dead on arrival by Dr. Ack at 10:33 a.m.

When police carried out an investigation into the incident that led to Griffith’s injuries, they learned that on Saturday, April 6, 2024, at about 7:00 p.m., Griffith and her common-law husband, Maynor Ancona, arrived at El Norte Bar, Mile 19, north of San Pedro Town, where Ancona got involved in an altercation with Elmer David Castro, 34, a tour guide of 10 Miles, North San Pedro Town, which escalated into a bar brawl, and at some point during that brawl, Ancona grabbed some conch shells and threw them at Castro, but one of the shells hit Griffith in the back of her head, which caused injuries that subsequently led to her death.

According to police, during the fight, Ancona also caused injuries to Castro; Edeinie Yurizet Valladarez, 30, a Belizean cook; and 55-year-old American business owner, Daghan Izberk, all residents of North San Pedro.

Police say that Ancona was also injured, and they were all issued with medico-legal forms.

On Tuesday, April 9, 2024, a post-mortem examination was conducted on Griffith’s body by Dr. Roque Blanco, who certified her cause of death to be head trauma that was the result of her being hit in the head with a conch shell.

Based on information gathered by police during their investigation, both Castro and Ancona were detained. Castro was charged with disorderly conduct and 2 counts of wounding. He was granted police bail and is due to appear in the San Pedro Magistrate’s Court next Thursday, April 18, to answer to his charges.

Police say that the case file for Ancona was sent to the DPP’s office yesterday, Thursday, April 11, for her directives, and that she instructed the police to charge Ancona for manslaughter by negligence and not murder in connection with the death of his wife.

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