It did not take long for the US media to arrive in Belize to follow up on the murder of ABC7 television producer Anne Swaney. Her name headlining news all over the world and the story of her untimely death while vacationing in Belize has people questioning the safety of traveling to Belize.
The Belize Government and its Tourism Board is scrambling to keep its good name as a safe and desirable vacation destination has mobilized its police department and is working on boosting the presence of police in the Cayo District where Anne and another resident filmmaker, Mattheiw Klinck, were recently murdered.
“Our continued thoughts and prayers are with the family of American tourist Anne Swaney who was found murdered on 1/15 in the Cayo district. While crime against tourists in Belize is uncommon, her family and our community deserve justice.” This came as a statement from the Belize Tourism Board in a release to the country’s tourism stakeholders.
“We will continue to work with the Belize Police Department in our tourism capacity to assist in their investigation. Moving forward, we will work with the Belize Police Department and advocate for an increased police presence to ensure the safety and security of everyone in Belize. In addition, the Ministry of National Security, Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation, the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) and Industry Partners are collaborating to proactively implement efforts on security and safety issues for preventive measures.”
On Tuesday, January 19, 2016, ABC7 Chicago News indicated that the United States now has federal agents on the scene in Belize to assist in the murder investigations as Belizean authorities say they are stepping up their efforts to solve the case.
ABC 7 news reporter Chuck Goudie reporting from San Ignacio, Cayo, Belize
ABC7 News goes on to say that a FBI agent and U.S. Embassy Officers interviewed the resort owner about when Anne, 39, was last seen alive – near the end of a vacation she had planned for months. Even though the FBI is offering assistance, the investigation is based out of the Benque Viejo branch of the Belize National Police that has formed a task force of about 10 officers from across the country to try to solve the case.
A Guatemalan national arrested and held for investigations on Anne’s murder has still not been cleared in her killing and local authorities are still waiting on lab tests, saying that they may ask the FBI for help with more sophisticated forensic work.