One can hope that the result will be arrest and incarceration of the individual(s) responsible. But Anne Swaney's murder just over a year ago remains unsolved as do many others including at least three other murders involving expats in the once-considered-the-safest-part-of-Belize, the northernmost district of Belize, Corozal.
In the case of Matus and DeVoursney we'll find another expat was intimately involved and perhaps responsible for the murder. That should come as no surprise to anyone given the circumstances of the case as we know them today. Belizean on Belizean crime is even worse. But local crime doesn't make international news - and when your livelihood is determined by tourism, bad news in the international press is not what you want.
Belize is a dangerous place and the mayhem is spreading. Kidnappings, home invasions, rape, tieving/robbery, and assaults happen with a frequency that is greater than that reported. That's right, people don't report all crimes. They don't trust the police feeling they are corrupt and those that aren't are just poorly trained. People have even less confidence in the court system.
For those instances that do result in an arrest, the prosecution rate is abysmally low. In 2015 it was reported the arrest rate was 25% and the conviction rate was 7%. Yes, you can get away with murder in Belize.
Corruption is rampant and the Belize economy is going down the tubes further feeding the graft and outright "tieving". It's been that way for years and it's not getting better anytime soon. Custom's has its share of corruption at every border crossing. Police as well - it's endemic. Just last month video emerged of Custom's agents chasing Police who blew through a checkpoint at the Northern Border. A separate incident also captured on video showed police vehicles crossing the Rio Hondo at La Union bringing contraband from Mexico.
A robust tourist trade is probably Belize's only hope for future success. Bad news will quickly put an end to tourism.
Crime is going to happen in any society. In Belize, where unemployment, racial animus, socio-economic rifts, greed, graft, corruption, incompetence AND violence are in all around, crime is going to happen. It is the manner in which a country deals with crime - from investigation to prosecution to punishment - that drives its reputation and determines its fate. This is where the people need to demand the Government focus their efforts - fix the legal system from top to bottom.
Many Belizeans are rightfully and fiercely proud of their country. That's good. Belize is, indeed, a beautiful country with an interesting history. But it's a dangerous country and one must take precautions. Visit and enjoy the wonders but buy insurance before you go.
This is Belize: A Murder in Paradise
Belize 2017 Crime & Safety Report
Discussion of Rising 2016 Murder Rate
How Will Police Solve Rising Murder Rate in 2017?