General

Memorial Mass held for Pamela Lino

By Michelle Sutherland

Staff Reporter

While police have been unable to positively identify the burnt human remains found in the back seat of Pamela Lino’s destroyed Kia Sportage several weeks ago, family and friends  held a memorial Mass in her honor last Friday at the Lady of Guadalupe Co-Cathedral in Belmopan City.

There was no coffin or body, however. The programs handed out during the Mass assumed Lino’s deathi as occurring on March 1, which was the day before her vehicle was left abandoned in a blaze after a highway chase in which cops pursued the car.

Lino’s disappearance and possible murder remains a mystery, pending the results of a cross reference DNA sample taken from Lino’s mother to determine whether the burnt corpse found inside the vehicle was her.

Lino’s family told the Reporter on Wednesday that they are positive without a reasonable doubt that the charred human remains found in the burnt Kia SUV were those of Lino, even though investigators have not been able to confirm it.

The bereaved family said it has not received any update from investigators in relation to the unexplained disappearance of the high school educator.

They say that they are left aching for closure after they were told that they will have to wait between three to six months for the results of the test, which would confirm the identity of the corpse.

The missing teacher’s burnt vehicle was discovered in front of the Gracie Rock junction on May 2, after it eluded a police checkpoint in front of the Hattieville police station.

When investigators arrived at the scene, the vehicle was completely engulfed in flames. After extinguishing the fire, a body was discovered on the back seat of the vehicle. An on-site post mortem examination conducted on the remains came out inconclusive as to the cause of death.

One person was detained by police in relation to Lino’s disappearance. He was later released by authorities due to insufficient evidence.

Belize does not have the capacity to carry out DNA testing. As a result, DNA samples are sent abroad and are very costly for the government.

During the 2011 Independence day speech, Prime Minister Dean Barrow confirmed that funding for a DNA facility was approved by the US State Department Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI).

The lab was supposed to be constructed at the National Forensic Science Building in Ladyville, while the government was going to hire foreign expertise to train local personnel.

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