BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Feb. 18, 2021– The disappearance of Raphael Garrido has been a mystery making its way through the media since last Monday when the young man was reported missing by his family. Garrido was last seen on February 3, 2021, after making a visit to Orange Walk. After the trip, Garrido was said to have been dropped off at Mile 31 on the Philip Goldson Highway and was not seen again for several days.
Initial reports had indicated that Garrido went to Orange Walk to conduct a “transaction” and was dropped off at Mile 31 by the same person whom he went to meet. Tragically, however, Garrido’s body was later found in a shallow grave on Monday, February 15, 2021, between Miles 51 and 52 on the Hummingbird Highway.
While there is a sense of closure following the discovery of the missing young man, his family is still left with more questions than answers. Because his body was found in a state of advanced decomposition, there was a delay in the conducting of a postmortem exam that was to have been done on the site of his death. In fact, police have yet to release the body because they have not yet made a positive identification of the remains, although they have stated that, based on the clothing and tattoos on the corpse, the remains do appear to be Garrido’s. Up until Tuesday, Garrido’s family had been appealing for his body to be released, because they are certain that he is the deceased person whose corpse they had viewed.
Both Garrido’s mother and his cousin expressed frustration that they were not allowed to fully see the body of the deceased and that his remains have not been released to them yet. On Tuesday, Superintendent Alejandro Cowo, Head of the Police Department’s Crime Investigation Branch (CIB) in Belize City, gave a briefing outlining the details of the case thus far:
“Yesterday at about 9:30 police received information from some persons who were dumping in that area, and they visited an area on the Hummingbird Highway between Miles 51 and 52, where on a shallow grave they found a decomposed body. The body had the clothing and appearance as to the body that was reported missing on the 3rd of February by the Garrido family of Ladyville. So far a positive identification has not been done yet, but based on the clothing and some tattoos that the person has, it resembles that of Garrido. Well, that is something that we are trying to establish from the very first day that a report was made, the person that accompanied him to Orange Walk. He was in police custody and he was questioned and he was later released due to the information that he had provided for us. But from since then, police have conducted searches along with the family on the Philip Goldson Highway,” Cowo stated.