Police Sergeant Charged for Brutal Murder of Detainee

A Police Sergeant has been charged in connection with the death of 27 year old Tyson Rodriguez.  Julio Shal, a 41 year old Sergeant attached to the Placencia Sub-Formation, was arraigned on murder this morning at a Mango Creek court house.  Sgt. Shal was one of three officers assigned to carry out investigation on a robbery and assault report made by a Canadian couple on November 22nd in Placencia.

vlcsnap-2013-12-03-21h04m20s80The following day, Tyson Rodriguez, suspected to be one of the assailants, was detained in Corozal and handed over to authorities in Placencia.  But by that night, Rodriquez’s body was found floating in nearby waters.

Beach mango C.According to the officers, whom custody he was in, they interrogated Rodriguez until about 10:00 p.m., when he agreed to take them to an area in Placencia.  He was reportedly handcuffed and placed him in the pan of a pickup truck, but while en route to the location, just before reaching Chabil Mar Resort in Placencia, the officers say that Rodriguez jumped out of the pan of the pick -up truck and escaped.  Upon searching the area, Police say two Hispanic male persons reported seeing the body of a man, floating in the water about ½ mile south of the Police Station.

Belize Police Logo 2013It turned out to be that of Rodriguez.  But due to the circumstances of his death, Police launched both and an external and an internal investigation.  It was soon revealed in his death certificate that Rodriguez died as a result from ASPHYXIATION BY BRONCHEAL stethoscopeASPIRATION SAND  – BEACH TYPE AND MULTIPLE TRAUMATISM TO CHEST – TRAUMA TYPE.

Attorney, retained by Rodriguez’s family, Audrey Matura Shepherd, maintained that “Tyson’s injuries are not consistent with someone escaping from a moving vehicle, nor him trying to swim to escape.  Rather a person or persons held his head down in the sand until he could not breathe and thus, sand was found in his trachea and bronchial passage.”
In fact, his family says that they were told by reliable sources that Rodriguez did not escape from the police station but rather, after receiving a beating by officers at the station, he was escorted into a police vehicle handcuffed with his hands behind his back and never seen again. Sources close to PlusNews have told that us that one of those officers has become a crown witness in the case, affording him immunity, while another, Sergeant Shal has been charged with murder.  We spoke with attorney Matura-Shepherd this afternoon who shared with us the family’s sentiment regarding today’s arraignment.

vlcsnap-2013-12-03-20h20m48s5Ms. Audrey Matura Shepherd- Attorney at Law

“The family is happy because they feel that for the first time in a long time in this country, the police have the audacity to investigate one of their own, and not only investigate.   They are cooperating with the family because as their attorney they have been in contact with us, cooperating and providing information.  So, at this point, we don’t have anything to say against them.  it doesn’t mean if they don’t miss steps some time in the near future, we won’t say, but this we need to say that  for the first time police have gone all out to do an investigation and as a result, Sergeant Julio Shal has been arrested and charged.  To that. what the mother has commented to me is that yes, one down, two more to go…because Sergeant Shal did not act on his own.  We know that there are at least two other police officers.   We will leave the police to do their work, we will make all the proper authorities do what they have to do, and we will sit back and see the system work.  Whenever it is failing, we will step in.  So this is good news”.

About the Author