It is a very unfortunate tale to tell, the worst fears for a family were confirmed as the lifeless body of 13-year-old, Jasmine Lowe, was found on Wednesday, June 6, 2012, after having been reported missing on Monday, June 3, 2012.
Jasmine Lowe went missing on Monday, June 3, 2012, after she left her father’s house in Santa Elena, Cayo. Jasmine was preparing to participate with the Scouts for the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations in the City of Belmopan. It is believed that the young girl took a taxi to go home and that was the last time she was seen until Wednesday, June 6, 2012 when her lifeless body was found in the bushes near a farm on the Cristo Rey Road.
Reports are that Jasmine was as her father’s house helping with their products after which she left at 2:00p.m. and was heading to her hairdresser. Jasmine was not known to take just any taxi and her father believes she must have known the taxi driver. Surveillance camera from a supermarket where she took the taxi shows her with a third person in a white station wagon.
Senior Superintendent Chester Williams stated to the media that the surveillance video will be taken for enhancement so as to get the license plate number of the vehicle for investigation.
“The vehicle in question, as I said before is a white station wagon taxi. There are not many of them in San Ignacio, Benque Vejo, or Bullet Tree,” stated Supt. Chester Williams, “Since Monday, we've brought in a number of these vehicles, and have interviewed the owners, eliminating them. But the one in particular that we are trying to find, we've been unable to do so. So we are hoping that with the enhancement of the vehicle, we'll be able to get a license plate number."
Jasmine’s body was found in a feeder road off the Cristo Rey Road beside a farm in an advanced state of decomposition. Police believe that Jasmine was murdered sometime on Monday night and her body was thrown in the area where she was found. She was fully clothed and her clothes were intact.
Dr. Mario Estradaban conducted an onsite post-mortem but due to the advanced state of decomposition he was unable to determine the cause of death. He did notice superficial wounds on Jasmine but it was not enough to say that it was the cause of death. The body of Jasmine Lowe was immediately laid to rest at the family’s property in Bullet Tree. Police continue their investigation into this tragic incident.
Statement by Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow on the death of Jasmine Lowe
Belize City, Belize - June 7th, 2012 - The news that 13-year-old Jasmine Lowe was discovered dead has left me and many Belizeans very saddened. An innocent life has been taken, leaving a family and community devastated. Most naturally, residents are calling on the authorities and government to not only bring the perpetrator to justice, but to strengthen the existing systems so that these crimes are more difficult to commit and easier to prosecute.
Since 2011, in my role as Special Envoy for Women and Children, I have been advocating the drafting of new legislations for the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, Trafficking in Persons and sexual assaults. I've also been working closely with the Solicitor General's office, Ministry of Human Development, the Department of Public Prosecution and Police Department. In fact, I made a suggestion to the former Minister of Police, Mr. Doug Singh, for the establishment of a new Special Victims Unit. I am happy to say this idea has been embraced by the new Minister of Police, Hon. John Saldivar, and is being formed as we speak—of course as a part of a holistic initiative. These things take time to put in place, if it is to be done properly. Presently, there are many public officers in the United States being trained in forensics, evidence gathering, inspection, and the like. Believe me, even though I've been on my sick bed, I've been working to get measures in place to better protect our children and punish perpetrators. I know it may not be happening fast enough for some, but the appropriate linkages have to be made for these efforts to be truly effective.
In the meantime, I urge parents and guardians to improve communication with their children, teach them how to protect themselves, get to know their friends and their friend’s parents. We also need to re-embrace the adage that “it takes a village to raise a child” and start looking out not just for our own children but all children. By working together we can make Belize a better and safer place for all our children. I would like to extend my deepest condolences to the Lowe family in their time of grief; no parent should have to endure heartache from the death of their child.