On Good friday, April 18, as Christians prepared to celebrate the crucifixion of Jesus, a most ghastly and totally unsubstantiated report was posted by Senator Lisa Shoman that the young man Porfilio Rodriguez, who calls himself “Vanessa Paris Champaign”, was murdered while in Placencia. The post claimed that
“she was stabbed multiple times; allegedly by the same set of guys who assaulted her on Vernon street- in Placencia at around 7:25″
The post also said the body had been transported to Regional Hospital in Dangriga. At 9:30 a.m., we called Dangriga Hospital and they responded that there was no such body at their morgue.
Subsequent calls to Placencia Police Station, the Dangriga Police station and Independence Station confirmed that the post was a hoax but the vehement and vile comments made against the church and specific members of Belize Action were real enough.
“The sad irony is that many God-fearing folks will find themselves in church today weeping for the Saviour, while full of alarming, almost inhuman indifference to crimes like this”.
… another wrote:
“the people claiming to stand for the word of God are the same people promoting this violence… and yet another wrote “Sick people in Belize under the guise of righteousness and church… “
It did not take much for us to track Porfilio Rodriguez down and to speak with him. He claimed that those who started the rumor wanted him dead. He also confirmed to us that another story that he had been assaulted a second time was also untrue. Senator Shoman claimed, in her posts, that the report was presented to her by UNIBAM’s Caleb Orozco after he spoke to a “credible source”.
The hate filled, anti-church comments rolled in for over 4 hours… until Shoman made a new claim…
“Vanessa was apparently attacked – but she WAS NOT murdered as previously reported. …she was assaulted – allegedly by 3 of the same persons who assaulted her on Vernon Street. Orozco’s Facebook page made the same claim adding that
“This time she made a report and got a medico-legal form and reported the incident to and Officer Cal who is stationed in Independence, according to her. ”
A brief call to Mango Creek Police and we were told that no Officer Cal is stationed there. Also no such report was made. Porfilio Rodriguez, known now as Vanessa, is originally from Independence where he lived for almost all his life, many years peacefully as a transvestite.
It is only over the last few weeks that he moved to Belize City and is now attracting national media attention.