On Sunday, October 31, San Pedro Police received a report that a female flight attendant of Maya Island Air Regional had gone missing. And shortly after 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 2, police found the lifeless body of 37-year-old, Maria Antonia Plaza Gomez.
Maria Antonia Plaza Gomez arrived in Belize City on Friday, October 29 and told the rest of the flight crew that she would be spending the night on San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. She checked in at the Corona del Mar Hotel and went out for the evening.
|The body of Maria being removed from the murder site and transported to south end of island for the autopsy|
It has been confirmed that Plaza Gomez was seen on Saturday night at the Holiday Hotel Halloween Party and on Sunday morning, October 31, she told hotel employees that she was going to confirm her return flight for 2:00 p.m. at the airstrip. A surveillance camera at the hotel captured Plaza Gomez leaving the premises at around 7:58 a.m.; she then stopped at the Ramon’s Village gift shop where she made a purchase and around 10:00 a.m. she reconfirmed her flight to Belize City at the Maya Island Air airstrip office.
After leaving Maya Island Air, Plaza Gomez walked back towards her hotel. News Five interviewed Mr. Arnulfo Escobar, a fruit vendor in front of Ramon’s Village, who stated that he saw Plaza Gomez with a tall Caucasian male who had long hair and carried a backpack. After she made a purchase at his fruit stall, Plaza along with her male companion, continued in the direction of her hotel south of town.
That was the last time Plaza Gomez was seen and when she did not make her flight back to the city and didn’t show up to work, Maya Island reported her missing. San Pedro Police along with Maya Island Air personnel commenced a search for Plaza Gomez and on Monday, November 1, the community of San Pedro came together distributing fliers with Plaza’s picture and posting them on lap posts around town and conducting a search around the island.
Three days after her disappearance police intensified their search and on Tuesday, November 2, shortly after 3:00 p.m. police stumbled upon the body of a female in a bushy area of a private lot located on the beachfront area which is off an alley that connects to Coconut Drive. This location is just a block away from the hotel where she was staying.
|Bushes under the house's veranda where the lifeless body of Plaza Gomez was found|
Maya Island personnel were quickly informed about the finding and the area was blocked by police as the area was quickly filled with onlookers. The lifeless body of Plaza Gomez was found in a bushy area under the veranda of the building covered with a floating device. The building is occupied by local businessman Mr. Dennis Sunderman.
It was confirmed to us that the body was found in a preliminary state of decomposition and was partially nude. Plaza Gomez was wearing a white tank-top blouse with dark trousers and her blouse was pulled up to her neck and her bra had been pulled down, exposing her breasts. There were many visible bruises on the body including bite marks.
It was about 6:00 p.m. when Dr. Mario Estradaban, coroner of Belize, arrived to the scene along with a forensic team of investigators. The lifeless body of Plaza was removed from the crime scene at about 8:15 p.m. and was taken to an isolated area south of Ambergris Caye, in the Boca Ciega Area, where Dr. Estradaban conducted an autopsy. The body was later transported to Belize City via the police boat where Dr. Estradaban will continue his investigations.
Plaza Gomez was violently tortured, assaulted and brutally murdered; she was not raped. Dr. Estradaban’s findings confirm that Plaza Gomez was killed at the place where she was found and the gruesome murder occurred on Sunday, October 31 sometime between 12 midday and 2:00 p.m. Police reports and Ambergris Today research confirm that this is the first murder case of the year.
|Police blocked off beach front area to conduct their investigations|
|Beachfront home where the body of Maria was found|
|Police and special constables await the recovery of the body|
|Forensics officer Arian Jones and Special Constable Karim Maroun enter the crime scene|
|Resident of house talks with Police Officer|
Pictures of the Crime Scene the following day