Police are investigating a double murder and an attempted murder in the remote village of Carmelita, Orange Walk District, but the gunman responsible is presently beyond the reach of the law.
At approximately 11:00 a.m. today, Thursday, a BDF soldier, Larn Lisbey (age unknown at this time), the ex-common-law husband of Judith Rhaburn, 31, entered the Rhaburn’s family yard, where he shot and killed Rhaburn’s mother, Anacleta Pech, 50, and Rhaburn’s sister, Ana Julia Clarita Cortez, 30.
Today, we spoke with the grieving family members on the scene, who told us that Anacleta’s husband, Santiago Alberto Cortez, 53, and Ana Julia’s son, Roque Jacinto Cohouj, 15, were also present at the time of the shooting, but that they managed to escape the shooter’s bullets.
Orange Walk police had been contacted sometime between 1:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. today, Thursday, after Lisbey had arrived at the home threatening to “kill” Rhaburn. This was one of many other past threats to Rhaburn’s life, we were told.
The family told us today that police never responded to that call.
According to Orange Walk police, Lisbey returned to Rhaburn’s home at approximately 11:00 a.m., armed with a 16-gauge shotgun. He entered the family yard through the back area and immediately began shooting the unsuspecting family members.
We learnt that Roque Cohouj was the first to be shot at by Lisbey, because he was the only one outside in the yard upon his arrival. Santiago, the family told us, had to use a piece of metal to shield himself when Lisbey pointed the gun at him.
The police did not divulge the exact number of expended shells they retrieved from the family yard, but they said that upon their arrival at the family residence, they found Anacleta apparently dead, lying face up with blood coming from the center of her chest.
Ana Julia was found in one of three family homes inside the yard; she was also apparently dead, having been shot in the right side of her abdomen.
Lisbey had reportedly escaped on foot after the shooting.
Ana Julia leaves behind two children and Anacleta leaves behind four; Ana Julia would have been the fifth.
Some family members were in the yard weeping, while some simply stood in shock against the houses and posts in the yard. We saw a little girl who we were told was one of Anacleta’s granddaughters. She stood about 4 feet tall and was about 8 years old, and she sobbed uncontrollably as she stared at her grandmother’s blood stains.
When we arrived at the family residence, we found an obstruction on the street – a BDF-type vehicle with an attachment for towing at the back. We learnt from the family later that Lisbey was a BDF soldier; this was confirmed with BDF officials at press time tonight.
Our investigation revealed that Lisbey had been in a relationship with Rhaburn for a little over four years and they had a 3-year-old daughter. But because of Lisbey’s acts of abuse and violence against Rhaburn, she had taken legal action against him.
Rhaburn had had enough of being beaten by Lisbey, the family told us, and had decided to also take out a restraining order against him. Lisbey and Rhaburn were to have appeared in court in the coming month for court proceedings.
“He said he had his friends in the police, so nothing will happen to him,” Rhaburn’s brother told us, alleging that Lisbey told Rhaburn that he would kill her and that he would get away with it.
The brother explained that sometime in the past month, Lisbey had been apprehended by police after he made threats to Rhaburn’s life.
“They took away his gun and his knife, but then he was released and the [weapons] were given back to him,” the brother said.
The Orange Walk police told us that they will provide more information as their investigation continues. They explained that at this time they cannot comment on any information on Lisbey’s past arrests or detention, because the information was not accessible at the time of our interview.
There were quite a few rumors circulating at the time of our interview. One was that Lisbey had committed suicide in the presence of his child, which the family told us would be the best thing to happen.
Police told us, however, that Lisbey is not dead, but on the run.
Anacleta’s son told us that he was at work when he was told of his mother and sister’s murder.
“It is hard, very hard,” he said. “He said he would kill [Judith], but we would never have expected this.”