Belize police have detained a suspect in the killings of an Atlanta man and his Canadian girlfriend and have confirmed threats had been made against the woman, a Belize City television station is reporting.
Dennis Arnold, commanding officer in the City of Corozal near the Mexican border, declined to say whether the suspect in the deaths of Drew DeVoursney, 36, a U.S. Marine veteran, and Francesca Matus, 52, is a local resident but confirmed authorities have questioned that person for about two hours, Channel 7 News reported.
“We are looking at some threats that were made,” Arnold told Channel 7. “That's all to it so far."
Asked if Matus’ life had been threatened, Arnold responded: "No. Just open threats.” But he speculated about what could have happened if the threats had been reported: “Maybe she would still be alive today. And I believe that members in the community, their community, know exactly what was happening."
Arnold has not responded to requests for comment about the case from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. But police spokesman Raphael Martinez confirmed people have been questioned in the case, though he declined to identify them.
“Several people have been questioned,” Martinez said. “I don’t want to prematurely say something. But I can tell you we are seeing some strides and as soon as we have something tangible I can share that with you.”
DeVoursney and Matus had been missing for almost a week in Belize. An autopsy Tuesday revealed they died of strangulation. Their decomposed bodies were found Monday. They had duct tape around their right wrists.
DeVoursney’s mother, Char, said her other son, David, who is now in Belize, has learned from local police that they have questioned two people of interest. She added the U.S. Embassy in Belize has told her the FBI is assisting in the investigation. The FBI did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
The U.S. State Department issued a statement Wednesday, saying: “We extend our deepest condolences to family and friends. We are closely monitoring local authorities’ investigation into the cause of death. The U.S. Embassy in Belmopan stands ready to provide all possible consular assistance. Out of respect for the families during this difficult time, we have no further information to share.”
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