Her Excellency Sandra Rosales-Abella, Ambassador of the Republic of Honduras, was in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize on Thursday, January 29, 2015, to attend an emergency meeting with the Honduran community of the island after learning about the improper burial procedures taken on the body of murdered Honduran national Silvia del Carmen Benitez.
Twelve days after Benitez was murdered and buried three and a half miles north of San Pedro, her body was exhumed upon the requests of the Honduran community of Ambergris Caye after they contacted the Honduran Embassy.
At the meeting held at the Lions Den with concerned members of the Honduran community and invited friends, Ambassador Rosales-Abella expressed her utmost discontent at the way authorities of the island handled the murder investigations and burial of the body of Silva Benitez. According to her, it is the responsibility, by law, of the local authorities (police and Town Council) to report any death of a Honduran national to her Embassy. In fact, she clearly stated that, any death of a foreign resident on the island should be reported to the respective embassy and/or consul.
“If it were not for Letty Hernandez and the Honduran community in San Pedro, who contacted me, the Honduran Embassy would have never known of this tragic case,” commented Her Excellency Sandra Rosales-Abella to those who gathered at the meeting. “I am disappointed with the local authorities for not contacting the Honduran Embassy, which was their lawful responsibility to do. Also, Benitez’s body was just placed in a plastic bag and buried in an empty lot on the side of the road; this is of total disrespect for a human being to be buried in that manner. It is totally unacceptable and that is why I am here, to provide the body of the poor lost soul a proper burial.”
Dr. Giovanni Solorzano and Ambassador Sandra Rosales-Abella conduct meeting in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye
Ambassador Rosales-Abella stated that she had little to no information about the murder case and autopsy of Silvia Benitez and that there are still many more questions than answers to her gruesome murder. She stated that she understands that Silvia’s body was already in an advanced state of decomposition when it was found and that it had to be buried almost immediately, but that does not justify the way the situation was handled and the lack of communication to her Embassy. She reiterated that the Honduran Embassy would have acted immediately to assure a proper burial for the body, at the least.
“I had to travel to Belmopan and thanks to the Ministry of External Relations, I was able to get all the necessary paperwork and permits to exhume the body of Benitez so that the Honduran Embassy can provide her with a proper burial, in a casket, at the island cemetery and offer her last rites,” stated Ambassador Rosales-Abella. “I was also disappointed at Mayor Daniel Guerrero who could not make time to meet with me and assist the Honduran Embassy with the exhumation and proper burial of Silva’s body. I did not receive any support from the Mayor or the Town Council. The least that I expected was an apology to the country of Honduras and some kind of assistance, but I did not even receive that.”
Ambassador Rosales-Abella did thank members of the Honduran community in San Pedro, for getting organized and helping the Embassy and also thanked Dr. Giovanni Solorzano, who was very instrumental in getting everything organized in San Pedro. She stated that she still holds the San Pedro community at heart and is very grateful to all those who helped.
Silvia Carmen Benitez
Benitez’s body was exhumed during the early morning hours of Friday, January 30, 2015, and was given a proper burial at the cemetery located at the south end of the island.
Silvia Carmen Benitez was reported missing since January 13 and her lifeless, partially nude body was found on January 17 in an uninhabited area, about 3 ½ miles north of San Pedro Town. According to the police, she had injuries to the neck and face, but that the cause of death was undetermined. So far, there have been no arrests; she was mother to three children.
Anyone with reliable information in this murder case is asked to call Crime Stoppers Belize at 0-800-922 TIPS (8477) that provided anonymous services to solve crime cases; all calls are untraceable and confidential.