The police had reported that on November 22nd a Canadian couple living in Placencia reported to them that they were assaulted, beaten and robbed by a group of individuals. Tyson Rodriguez, who was identified as one of the assailants, was then detained in Corozal and transported to authorities in Placencia. From then the story took a deadly turn. Later that same night, Rodriquez’s body was found floating in the nearby waters in a secluded area half a mile away from the Police Station near Chabil Mar Resort . According to officers, whose custody he was in, they interrogated Rodriguez until about 10:pm, after which he agreed to take them to an area in Placencia. He was reportedly handcuffed and placed at the back of a pickup truck. But upon passing the Chabil Mar Resort in Placencia, Rodriguez reportedly jumped out of the pickup truck , ran across a bushy area and escaped through a swamp, only to be found dead later. The Rodriguez family refused to believe these set of circumstances and so did their attorney Audrey Matura-Shepherd. Our news reporter followed Hilda Rodriguez and Audrey Matura-Shepherd to Placencia where they visited the area in which it is presumed Tyson Rodriguez drew his last breath.
Hilda Rodriguez Martinez, Tyson’s mother, along with Audrey Matura, the family’s attorney, travelled to Placencia determined to find the location where Tyson Rodriguez drew his last breath and also to test the theory of the original police reports. Having located the presumed location, Audrey Matura is even more convinced the police reports were false.
Police report and different information coming out gave the indication as though he escaped from this vehicle, jumped out, ran through this area near Chable Mar and about 20 minutes later I am told the police found him dead and that the reason they didn’t pursue him is because there was swamp in the area. So we came to see for ourselves; absolutely no swamp in the area. In some areas the soil is actually high and we can see its all sand right here and then there is the beach. Definitely there is a lot of inconsistency with what they were saying. Also there is a theory that a police officer told us that he could have fallen on his face on his own and therefore suffocated on his own, without anyone pressing him. He said that the sand is so deep and soft that once your face drop in it, you can’t come out. Again, we tested that theory. Impossible and the sand here is not even that deep. The natural instinct would be that someone would try and push themselves out or whatever. That still does not explain away the extent of sand in his system. It does not explain away the extent of beating and bruising on him that eventually caused and contributed to his death. At this point, we are definitely sure that the accounts of the police cannot be right, one and two, we are a bit concern that coincidentally the body would be found just in this area, just off the little road, the one little road that leads into the area. That more speaks to that the police driving in, bringing him here, beating him and killing him and leaving him here.
We visited the Placencia Police Station, where we spoke with Inspector Mark Flowers, Officer in Command of the Placencia sub formation. He gave us his account of the proceedings leading up to the death of Tyson.
Mark Flowers, OIC, Plancencia Sub-Formation
This was after 5 on a Friday evening, which meant that I was on my off time. I was in fact in San Ignacio and that time. I had taken the police officers to Belmopan to pick up Tyson Rodriguez and the stolen vehicle and to have them come back to Placencia with the person and the vehicle. I was informed around 10:30 or so that night of what happened. So I made my way back to Placencia. It is ultimately my responsibility as the commanding officer and I came back to inquire of what had happened. Before doing so, I also relayed what was being told to be to the Commissioner of Police and to the Head of the National Crimes Investigation Branch, Assistant Commissioner, Mr. Blackett.
According to inspector Flowers, by the time he reached back in Placencia, Tyson’s body was already recovered and transported to the morgue. Sergeant Julio Shal, the Second in Command, was one of the officers assigned to carry out an investigation on the assault of the Canadian couple and was recently charged for the murder of Tyson Rodriguez. Inspector Mark Flowers tells us what fate awaits Julio Shal, having been remanded at the Hattieville Prison.
Inspector Mark Flowers
He has been remanded into custody like anyone else who is charged for murder He has a court date I think on the 13th of March. I am certain they will have further adjournments until that matter is tried. It is an indictable matter, so that doesn’t mean that it will come up anytime in the immediate future. I have every reason to believe that they will also be levying disciplinary charges.
An overly asked question is how many other officers were involved in the alleged murder of Tyson Rodriguez and how many will suffer the same fate as Sergeant Shal? When asked, Inspector Flowers refused to give any comment of the ongoing internal investigation. Our own sources had it that one of the officers involved is Inspector Flower’s nephew, but Flowers says this rumor is false.
Inspector Mark Flowers
I have no nephew in the Police Department. I have cousins and friends, but no nephews. I have no other relatives in the department, except for my brother who is a Police Officer.
Inspector Flowers had known Shal for some years and believed him to be a humble man and found him incapable of doing an act like this.
Inspector Mark Flowers
I have known Shal for a number of years and I don’t know him to be a person like that. I know him to be a humble fella. But to elaborate, I really can’t, it’s not fair to him or to me or anyone to do that.
But our sources had revealed to us that 9 years ago, in 2004, Shal served as a corporal at the San Ignacio Police Station. In May of that year he was charged for attempted murder while under the influence of alcohol and left a black eye on the San Ignacio Police Formation at that time. Now in 2013, Shal is again on remand, this time on charges of murder. We asked Inspector Flowers if there was enough proof to begin with that Tyson was even one of the assailants. Inspector Flowers said there is.
Inspector Mark Flowers
They have. He has been positively identified by the way of statements as the main perpetrator; the person who actually and physically assaulted the woman. He is the person who is responsible according to her. She saw him and she was overly emotional when she saw the picture of him. She immediately recognized him as being the person who inflicted those savage beating to her.
Hilda Martinez, Tyson’s mother, though lamenting her son’s death, apologized to anyone he might have wronged.
I just want to say that on behalf of myself and my family if he wrongs anyone in anyway, I deeply apologized. That was not the way I raised him. I would have never wanted him to hurt anyone. At the same time, his life was taken and so we are here trying to search for the truth and find justice.
We were told by reliable sources that the Canadian couple is currently in their home country receiving surgery as result of the beating.