DANGRIGA, Stann Creek District, Wed. Aug. 14, 2019– A murder investigation has been launched into the death of Derrick Ramirez, 24, a fisherman of Dangriga whose body was found in an advanced state of decomposition in the Gra-Gra Lagoon in the Commerce Bight area of Dangriga on Monday.
Ramirez’s body was found by a fisherman who was in the area and called police. The body was identified by Ramirez’s father, Guillermo Ramirez, who said that he knew it was his son because he recognized the tattoos on his chest, arms and legs, and also a wristwatch that was on his wrist.
An onsite post-mortem exam conducted on the body certified that the cause of death was traumatic shock due to chop wounds. Ramirez was buried in the Dangriga Town Cemetery after the autopsy.
Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams, said that the main suspect in Ramirez’s death is known to police and has been identified as Oscar Williams, Jr. He went missing while being interrogated by a police inspector and a constable on Cross Caye.
The police inspector, who was reported to be Derrick Ramirez’s brother, has been put on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, and the constable has been put on interdiction for bringing the department into disrepute.
Kevin Hernandez, 27, the deceased Derrick Ramirez’s brother, told police on Tuesday, August 6, at the Dangriga Police Station, that on Sunday, August 4, he, Ramirez, and their brother-in-law, were fishing and diving for lobster in the sea near to Cross Caye when they were approached by three men in a boat, and they were ordered by the captain of the boat to stop fishing in the area because the area was their private property.
Later that day, while Hernandez, Ramirez, and their brother-in-law were on Cross Caye, getting ready to leave the island, the men arrived on the boat and two of them alighted from their boat, came on shore and fired at Ramirez, who ran and hid in some mangroves.
The men pursued Ramirez and fired more shots, after which they left the mangroves, got in their boat and left.
After the men left, Hernandez and his brother-in-law went into the mangroves to look for Ramirez. They couldn’t find him, and so they went to the police and made the missing person report.
Police said that immediately after they got the report they collaborated with the Coast Guard and began to search for Ramirez.
On Friday, the Coast Guard brought three men to Cross Caye and handed them over to the police. Compol Williams said that the inspector and a constable took one of the men aside, out of sight of the others, to interrogate him.
After some time had passed, the inspector and the constable came back and reported that the main suspect, identified as Oscar Williams, had escaped from them.
Police and the Coast Guard began an immediate search for Williams, but their efforts were in vain.
Commissioner Williams and the police high command do not find the officers’ story to be credible. They say they find it hard to believe that a man who was handcuffed was able to escape from two policemen on an island.
It was first believed that because the inspector is Ramirez’s brother and the man handed over to him for questioning was the main suspect in the death of his brother, emotions might have affected the inspector’s judgment and he might have done something to harm Williams.
Today, however, Commissioner Williams said that he has been reliably informed that Williams is alive, and is in hiding.
He said, however, that the two policemen will be dealt with for allowing the suspect to escape. The motive for the murder of Ramirez is not yet known.