Police issue APB for man wanted for murder of village V Chairman

By Marion Ali, Staff Reporter

Orange Walk police have circulated an All Points Bulletin (APB) for the arrest of Juan Carlos Lopez Gutierrez, 58, a Salvadoran wanted for the chopping murder Indian Church village vice chairman, Francisco Arevalo, 51.

Arevalo, who lived alone in the village, was found dead, nude and lying face down beside an unfinished concrete structure at the entrance of the village around 7:00 a.m. on Sunday, by his nephew who was on his way to attend to his family’s cattle. The corpse had several machete wounds across the face, head and neck, and his left hand was almost completely severed.

Relatives of the deceased told police that they had last seen him alive at around 7:00 p.m. on Saturday at his house, but that he had received a phone call which warranted him to leave home. He reportedly left, presumably to meet a Guatemalan woman who lived in San Felipe village, who he had been having an intimate relationship with. That woman, police say, is also intimately involved with the accused.

Arevalo’s relatives and police believe it was the same woman who called him on his cell phone shortly before 7:00 p.m. on Saturday and lured him to the unfinshed structure, where his killer was either already waiting, or followed the woman and met them together. Investigators later detained the woman after they traced Arevalo’s phone to her house. She has not yet been charged with any offense.

Assistant Superintendent of Police and Officer Commanding the Orange Walk police station, Selwyn Tillett, said police consider jealousy and rage as possible motives of the killing. Police have recorded several statements from villagers, most of whom were attending a social event on the other side of the village, and did not hear or see anything out of the ordinary.

Gutierrez, who is tagged as a sure flight risk, had recently arrived in Belize from Salvador. Since the incident, villagers had reported seeing him on the outskirts of Indian Church, and police have disseminated a profile of his picture and particulars for other formations to be on the lookout for him.

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