A post-mortem examination conducted on Tuesday afternoon in Belize City confirmed the worst fears of the family of 18 year old Hilberto Sotz, the teenager detained by Caye Caulker police on Monday and found to have died while in their custody. This afternoon we met with the family at the law office of attorney Richard “Dickie” Bradley, who they have retained to represent them in this matter. Hilberto’s father, taxi driver Saturnino Sotz, explains how he was given the news.
Santorino Sotz – Father of Deceased
So we gone to the office and the head of the police told us that my son never died by natural death. Because the doctor proved that he get hard licks in his head because they find blood on his head that would cause to killed him and they find in his heart hard thick blood like they slammed him – and that is what caused the death. So that’s why the police told me this morning that no matter what kind of officer, they will deal with it and they will find later on what kind of charge those two officers will get. Because my son never died by natural
The father of four children – in addition to Hilberto he has another son and two daughters, says he has had run-ins with law enforcement on the island before, and this time he was not allowed access to his son from the time he was initially detained up to his passing, even though he interceded with officers at the station. Meanwhile, his devastated mother, Carmelina, says the feeling inside her is emptiness, not relief.
“Inside. My heart it feels like I’m not living. I adored my son, I love my son. All I’m asking for is I want justice, I want them pay for my son’s life. They won’t bring him back alive. That’s what I’m asking, I want justice. I want them to pay for my sons life because my son is a person.”
While police contemplate charges and the Caye Caulker community gets ready to mourn and remember Hilberto, Dickie Bradley says his mind is on helping the family to get closure.
“Our hearts at this time is with them. Will take a long long time for them to find healing. I’m sure as they have indicated that they don’t want this matter to go like that. We’re here on pro-bono basis to assist them in order for them to have some form of closure, to get some justice. If in fact the investigation confirms their worst fears that their son has somehow lost his life because of the unprofessional behavior of police officers. The proper thing in our society now, especially because the people on the island, one hundred percent believes – surely they must see and suffer abuses by the hands of police on the island. The way San Pedro has been going through – massive police abuses of citizens out there, that the people on the island are in solidarity with the family and we would hope that there is an apology and proper compensation without the need to have to go to the supreme court. “