Crime

Domestic violence claims 4th life in one month

By Alexis R. Milan
Staff Reporter

A 21-year-old mother has become the fourth and latest victim of domestic violence in a span of 27-days. Merlin Elizabeth Mejia was found with her throat slashed at her home on Morning Glory Street early Wednesday morning and police cannot locate her spouse, who they believe is on the run.

According to Inspector Alejandro Cowo, OC CIB Precinct One and Two, police arrived on the scene just before 7:00 a.m. and found Mejia, a Salvadoran national, in one of the rooms laying in a pool of blood with two large cuts to the neck and one behind the ear.

Cowo said police investigations are still underway but they suspect that a domestic dispute of some sort led to her murder. Police are seeking Mejia’s common-law-husband, Ulysses Manual Mayorga, a Honduran national. According to Cowo, the couple had been living together but separated several months ago though Mayorga was still known to have frequented the home on Morning Glory Street as they shared a child together.

Cowo said they believe Mayorga is still in Belize City but have sent out notifications to all formations, border points and check points to be on the lookout for Mayorga, who at this time is wanted for questioning. Police have not recovered a murder weapon.

Maria Mejia, the victim’s mother, said Mayorga called her several hours before, just after midnight and told her that her daughter was drunk so he would be taking their four-year-old son to his house. Mayorga dropped off the child at Mejia’s house later on and the child remains in his grandmother’s care. It is unclear whether the child was present at the time his mother was murdered or whether he saw what happened.

The National Women’s Commission (NWC) has since released a statement strongly condemning Mejia’s murder. The NWC also reminded authorities that Belize is a signatory to the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women, which makes domestic violence a crime against the state. The Commission also noted the other victims whose spouses now stand accused of their murders.

This month’s string of domestic murders started on July 3rd in Punta Gorda when 29-year-old Juana Cardinez was stabbed to death by her boyfriend. On July 10th Keisha Buller, a 25-year-old customs officer, was stabbed 54 times by her boyfriend in Benque Viejo del Carmen. Most recently on July 18th, Keyren Tzib, the 24-year-old Coast Guard officer who shot a fellow officer with a high-powered weapon earlier this year, stabbed and killed her boyfriend during a domestic altercation and has since been charged with manslaughter. Last month in June another man in Corozal was charged with setting his wife on fire after a domestic argument, however, the victim in that instance, 36-year-old Maria Pech survived.

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