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Murder/Suicide at North Ambergris?

There are no witnesses to the drama that took place around noon last Thursday near the Tres Cocos area in North Ambergris Caye, but after the gunshots went off, a Honduran national died and an American man was left in critical condition, fighting for his life at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH).

Police investigations into the double shooting continued this week, with preliminary leads pointing to murder/suicide as motive and probable cause for the double shootings of 39-year old Honduran Danilo Villatoro and 66-year-old American William “Doug” Campbell, who was lying in a coma-like state at the KHMH in Belize City.

According to the San Pedro Police, the police department received information around 12:10 p.m. last Thursday indicating that William Campbell was suffering from some sort of injury at his house near the Tres Cocos area of North Ambergris Caye. “When we came we found the front door open and we went inside and saw Mr. Campbell suffering from what appeared to be a single gunshot wound to the left side of his chest, whilst the other person was suffering from a gunshot wound to the left side of his temple,” said Sergeant Dennis Myles of the San Pedro Police. “We believe that the caretaker [Honduran Danilo Villatoro] and Mr. Campbell had some sort of issue and hence the reason why Mr. Campbell had shot the caretaker and in turn shot himself.”

TreatmentAccording to Myles, police found just one .38 revolver with two expended shells and three live rounds in it. “We also found a number of 12 gauge cartridges and believe that Mr. Campbell has a 12 gauge firearm, but we didn’t find it inside the house. We found the .38 weapon right next to Mr. Campbell.”

Speculation by people who knew both men well has it that both Villatoro and Campbell had drinking and domestic problems and that both their wives had left them. As of press time, police had strong reason to believe the shooting was a result of a murder/suicide attempt. In fact, they have information to suggest that both men had become despondent over the past few days.

“We have received information from the neighbor of Mr. Campbell that Campbell was telling them last week that he wanted to kill himself and likewise the caretaker because their wives had left both of them and since then they had drinking problems and they drank a lot, according to the neighbor. We will still investigate this matter to the fullest and we’ll find out what exactly happened.”

DaniloBut in order to accomplish this, police are waiting for a forensic report on the body of Honduran Danilo Villatoro, and according to Police Press Officer Michael Reid, they will need assistance from forensic labs abroad. Police are also waiting for the possibility of William Campbell’s condition to improve so that the American can give them a statement on the shooting incident.

Contrary to one media report last week, American William Campbell did not sustain any stab wounds to his person, only a single bullet wound to the upper left side of his chest area, which punctured his lung and injured his heart. Danilo Villatoro died from the effects of a fatal bullet wound to his head, near the right ear, an execution-style hit, if any. Doctors at the KHMH said this week that they are expecting Campbell to live. Police believe that both men were shot with the same gun, a .38 revolver, which was found lying next to Campbell. The gun was licensed to Campbell, but the license had expired last year, so it is being considered an unlicensed firearm.

So far, police know that both men were considered the very best of friends, both had women problems, and both had been drinking heavily. Because both were shot with the same firearm, one theory is that it was a murder and then attempted suicide. Another theory is that both men made a pact to end their lives or commit suicide. Preliminary tests also show that Campbell was shot from close range, but at this point, it is just a police theory and until they get to question Campbell, the whole truth still remains clouded.

Danilo Villatoro left three young children behind. “Doug” Campbell, as he was better known in San Pedro, was serving as the Ambergris Caye Safety Committee’s Chairman as recently as the ending of last year. According to a close family relation, Danilo told his estranged wife just hours before he died: “I will be waiting for you, if you ever decide to come back.”

Photo Caption:
1. Nurse Natalie Palen tends to Doug Campbell.
2. Nurse Natalie Palen tends to Doug Campbell.
3. Danilo Villatoro

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