Brandon Barfield has kept his best friend’s room just the way he left it. Drew DeVoursney’s black suit still hangs in the closet of the West Palm Beach home they shared. And his guitar — the one he used to perform Lynyrd Skynyrd and Allman Brothers songs while they were both deployed in Iraq — rests beside the bed he slept in. To Barfield, it feels fitting to keep everything in place, including DeVoursney’s poster of “Jeremiah Johnson,” their favorite movie.
The two became fast friends serving alongside each other with the U.S. Marine Corps in Fallujah in 2004, then a dark and violent battleground where both men narrowly survived rocket-propelled grenade attacks. When they returned home from the war, they bought 5 acres near Corozal Bay, planning to develop a vacation home on it.
And then Drew disappeared.
A year ago this month in a remote sugar cane field near the Mexican border, a farmer found the bodies of Drew, 36, and his Canadian girlfriend, Francesca Matus, 52, a mother of two. They had been missing for nearly a week. Both had been strangled. Tape was found on their wrists. The killings — which have drawn international media attention — remain unsolved.
“He was my brother,” said Barfield, 36, a commercial fisherman who, like DeVoursney, once lived in Georgia and still has family in the Peach State. “I think about him every day.”
The U.S. State Department referred questions about the investigation to Belizean authorities. Belize’s police department and the prime minister’s office did not respond to repeated requests for comment. The FBI confirmed it is still assisting with the investigation, but declined to comment further.