Thirteen-year-old Jasmine Lowe’s alleged abductor and murderer, Bert Vasquez (Haylock), 28, has been found and charged on Wednesday, after enraged Cayo residents and police teamed up to stop the serial pedophile, who was about to strike again.
The Reporter has learned that when cops busted him, he had a 14-year-old girl, who on that same day was reported missing from Santa Elena, with him in his car.
He reportedly had his pants off and a towel was thrown over his privates.
Alberto Palma, the president of the Bishop Martin Neighborhood Watch Committee, said, “We were preparing to form a search party, but at the same time that was happening, this guy was around trying to pick up this little girl.”
Vasquez was arraigned before Senior Magistrate Lindsbert Willis for Jasmine’s murder and was remanded to the Belize Central Prison until his next court appearance on August 14th.
The police were able pin Vasquez to the Jasmine’s death because her ring, which her mother, Marisol Lowe, had given her, was found in his car.
Marisol Lowe told The Reporter she was able to identify the ring because she had had it for nine years, before passing it on to her daughter.
Senior Superintendent Chester Williams, the Officer-in-Charge of the San Ignacio Police Formation, told the media at a press briefing, which immediately followed the arraignment, that several factors led the Police to arrest Vasquez.
Williams said, “I am confident that we have enough evidence that we could secure a conviction at the end.”
He added that since Vasquez’ arrest, at least a dozen other young girls from the Cayo area have come forward to file complaints against Vasquez, whom they have all accused of attempting to offer them money to go with him in his car.
All 10 young girls were also able to identify him, in separate identification parades, as the man who attempted to pick them up in his Kia car, which has since been impounded by Cayo Police for the purpose of gathering more evidence.
The police brought 13 additional charges against Vasquez. Eleven are for common assault, and one is for aggravated assault. The most serious is a charge of forcible abduction of the girl, whom police found in his car.
Lowe’s death and the testimonies of a dozen complainants have served to bring the Cayo community’s rage to a boiling point, evidenced in the mob protest on Wednesday outside the police station, which also houses the Magistrate Court.
The crowd made no attempt to hide their scorn for Vasquez, and someone in the crowd even hurled a rock towards him, despite the shield of police officers who were escorting him from the station to the court house.
The incensed crowd demanded “justice” and were seemingly ready to lynch Vasquez had they been given the chance.
One of the protesters, 53-year-old Juliana Guerra, carried a thick piece of nylon rope tied into noose. She said that it represented the fact that she wanted to “hang him.”
Guerra added, “We are tired of the crimes. You know my daughter went to Sacred Heart College this morning, but before she went she asked me to please go out there. ‘I’m scared mommy, I’m scared.’ That is why I am out here protesting. What happen to one of us happen to all of us.”
Another protester, Rosalba Requeña, said she has a 13-year-old daughter in Belize City. “If this had happened to my daughter, I would have been crazy inside my head.”
She said, “Chris Lowe is my neighbour, and that was one of the sweetest child that I have ever known. Chris is a great father.
“It’s imperative that I am here. I should be nowhere else but here supporting my neighbour,” she said.
Marisol Lowe said that she felt positive about the community’s support, “because this thing has to stop!”
Jasmine’s father, Christopher Lowe, said the massive turnout of the people of Cayo is illustrative of the fact the people are fed up with crime. “We’ve had enough!”
Lowe said he is not sure if the accused was the one who actually killed his daughter, but he had his daughter’s ring, and he has a history, “so he should be put out of commission.”
“She was seen in the vehicle by some other potential victims,” Lowe said.
Fearing for Vasquez’s wellbeing, San Ignacio Police had to swiftly whisk Vasquez through the protesting crowd.
The riot-ready crowd apparently had their effect on Vasquez, because even when he was inside the court and was directed to state his home address, he feared announcing it and asked to do so secretly. The court orderly handed him a pen and a piece of paper, upon which he wrote his address.
Vasquez is no stranger to the police and the courts.
Last year he was indicted on forcible abduction and attempted rape charges which are to be heard in the September session of the Supreme Court in Belize City.
In July 2011, Vasquez allegedly offered a lift to a 24-year-old woman, but instead of taking her to her destination, he allegedly took her to an isolated area in Ladyville Village, where he reportedly fondled her at knife point.
In May 2011, Vasquez was accused of aggravated assault, after he allegedly forced a 16-year-old girl into his car at gunpoint near the Pound Yard Bridge.
She told police that he drove her to the Vista Del Mar area of Ladyville Village and placed a gun to her head, but the gun misfired and the young woman escaped.