Retired Belizean murdered inside home

San Ignacio police have detained a man from the Maya Mopan area of Belmopan related to  the  murder of retired Belizean American contractor, Robert Lewis, 53, also of the Maya Mopan area.

Lewis was stabbed multiple times in his neck, and his throat slashed. The incident occurred inside his home at around 1:30 on Monday morning, when a knife-wielding man gained entry to the house and ambushed Lewis and his wife, Orsula Patnett-Lewis, 50.

Orsula, who was in the master bedroom on the second flat, was ordered to lie on the floor, tied up and threatened before her attacker demanded money and the couple’s gun. 

When he was done with her, he used the inside stairs and met Robert Lewis in the theatre room on the first floor of the house. There he stabbed him and slashed his throat, before going back up the stairs.

By that time, however, Orsula had already locked the door to the master bedroom, but his frantic kicks and bangs caused her to panic and she jumped from the balcony of the  upstairs bedroom and landed on stones in the yard.

The attacker, who discovered that was now his only way out of the building, also jumped and scaled the fence, reportedly injuring himself.

Police initially believed that the killer had injured his hand with the knife blade but today Officer Commanding the San Ignacio Police, Sr. Superintendent Ralph Moody, told reporters that the man in their custody has a fresh wound on his chest.

Moody added that the suspect had items belonging to the Lewis couple stashed at a relative’s house in San Ignacio.

He also reportedly stole $275 that belonged to Orsula. In her recollection of the incident, Orsula said that the man wore a mask, sanitary gloves and was dressed completely in black.

The house has four surveillance cameras to the rear, at the sides and front of the building, but none of them was set on record mode.

Robert and Orsula Lewis migrated to the United States over 20 years ago to work and save money to build their dream home.

Orsula had saved up quite a nice sum as a nurse to an American citizen, who bequeathed a sizable amount to her.

She decided to return home and to build the house in an area thought to be far detached from crime.

The couple had spent the weekend celebrating Robert’s 53rd birthday, which passed last Thursday.

It is believed that the knifeman, who was in the area studying people’s movements at the party, carefully chose his time to pounce, and did so when Mr Lewis went to take out the trash or to feed his dogs after the weekend celebration.

It would have been next to impossible to enter the house any other way because all its doors and windows have reinforced burglar bars, and the couple kept all their doors locked. Besides that, the dogs in the yard would have alerted the couple and neighbours if  someone were trying to gain entry by breaking in.

Mateo Cho’c, who lives next door to the Lewis’, said his daughter woke him up when she heard Orsula’s screams for help.

He said that by the time he rushed over to see what was the matter, the assailant had fled.  In her effort to flee the attack, when she jumped from the second storey, Orsula fractured her shoulder. She is recuperating in the Western Regional Hospital.

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