Police report progress after missing taxi driver’s body is found

vlcsnap-2013-07-18-19h11m26s73The body of taxi man Jose Marin Umana was found late yesterday evening on a dirt road just off the George Price Blvd near to the Belmopan municipal airstrip. The family had been searching for  the 43 year old taxi man who had gone missing since Saturday July 13th.  The following day, Umana’s rented taxi was found near a bar at the entrance of Ontario Village but with no sign of Umana.  Five days later, his body was discovered by his brother –in-law, who along with family members,  had started their own search of the bushes and feeder roads of the area. Yesterday, when we left the scene where the body was discovered,  the family was at the scene awaiting permission to remove the body.

 

Flor Aleman – Sister-in-law of Jose Umana:

vlcsnap-2013-07-18-19h10m19s137I burn up in the sun and everything.  I am sorely vexed because they said that the Policemen find the vehicle, and that’s not true.  My sister was the one to find the vehicle.  Right now I hope that they don’t say that the Policemen find the body, because my brother was the one to find the body.  A lot of people saw the person who went to catch the taxi of my brother-in-law, and the only thing I’m asking for is the policemen to do the job.  I think they can do that, because a lot of people saw the person who went in, and a lot of people from Ontario saw the exact same person driving the vehicle, when my brother-in-law was not there. So I just hope that they can do their job.

 

Today we spoke with Officer Commander of the Belmopan Police StationSinquest Martinez, who at the time of our interview was still awaiting the results of the post mortem  examination. He told us what he could about the investigation into this recent murder.

 

Sinquest Martinez – Commanding Officer Belmopam:

vlcsnap-2013-07-18-19h10m33s40The Police officers and the civilians conducted some search within the Ontario village area.  Within Belmopan along the George Price highway, with the assistance of the search party from the public at large, the body was found, yesterday Wednesday the 17th of July. We haven’t any person detained as yet, but there is a  person of interest that we are following.  The investigation is still ongoing.  There is information that we have received. We are filtering the information.  When we are through the filtering, then we’ll know where we’re proceed from.  Information has been coming up, but we need to filter the information coming in.  We need to check on them, and we’ll proceed from there.

 

Yesterday, we told you the family was upset when police did not allow them to remove the body from the scene. Today, OC Martinez says it is understandable that family members would be upset under those circumstances but the police has a job to do.

 

Sinquest Martinez – Commanding Officer Belmopam:

vlcsnap-2013-07-15-17h36m35s113I understand their feelings, but it when you do not know it’s a different thing.  I could understand being agitated.  The body has been found, but we the Police Officers and the pathologist have a job to do., and we have to follow procedures, but they do not understand procedures when a body has been found.  So we had to wait for the pathologist, because of the state of decomposition there is nothing else that we could have done.  There was nowhere else we could have left the body there.  That’s the reason why we had our officers there, until the pathologist arrived early this morning, and a post-mortem was conducted.

 

As for the post mortem examination, up to our news time, police had still not issued the findings. According to OC Martinez, there is a new policy regarding filing missing person’s reports. He told us more.

 

Sinquest Martinez – Commanding Officer Belmopam:

There’s a new missing person policy within the Belize Police department.  You need not to wait for 24 hours to come and report anybody missing.  The minute you feel that your loved one or someone for you, that there’s something you feel not normal,  you come to the Police Station.  Don’t wait for 24 hours, because a person could lose his life in an hour,  ten/fifteen minutes. So don’t wait.  Once the [person] is not there,, and you feel something is defiantly wrong,  you come to the Police station and make a report.  Don’t wait for 24 hours.

 

Family and friends of Umana are now simply asking for justice for the senseless murder of their loved one. Belmopan City councilor Juan Alas says he was a close friend of Umana. 

 

Juan Alas – Friend of deceased:

vlcsnap-2013-07-18-19h11m01s70We grew up together, from way back small.  He came here to try and make a living as a taxi-man.  I see many taxi-men are here trying to make a living.  It’s not that they are rich.  They don’t have money.  They just trying to make a living. So he was trying to do that.  I hope the Policemen will do their job well, tighten up, and catch those people that did this.

 

Yesterday, taxi men from the Belmopan area were also gathered at the scene of the discovery of the body and spoke to PlusNews about the dangerous nature of their job. They told us while they want justice for Umana’s death, they would also like to appeal to the relevant authorities to aid them in making their job a safer one. They told us some of their ideas on how that can be done.

 

Taxi Driver:

vlcsnap-2013-07-18-19h11m13s186We just want to say to Mayor Lopez, please put cameras at the [Bus] Terminal.  We need them, because if they may got camera they should have seen who took this guy. If they may got camera, that never may happen.   So please Mr Lopez, do something about this.

 

 

Jose Umana leaves behind a four year old daughter.

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