Belize-based Canadian missionary hacked to death

BELMOPAN, Belize, Thursday January 9, 2014 – The body of Canadian missionary Brian Townsend, who had spent nearly a decade working in the Valley of Peace in Belize, was recently discovered just over the border in Guatemala, reportedly covered with chop wounds from a machete.

The 64-year-old was first reported missing on Christmas Day by a chef he had hired to cook Christmas dinner.

On arrival at Townsend’s house, the chef found that his truck was missing and his home ransacked. When she discovered a trail of blood outside the house, she alerted the authorities.

Meanwhile, back in Edmonton, Canada, worried family members created a Facebook page “Brian Townsend Missing Belize” and tried to raise money for the missionary’s son, Kory Townsend, to travel to Belize to search for his father.

Events took a turn for the worse on December 27 when police in neighbouring Guatemala found a badly decomposed body just across the border from Belize.

The Canadian Press reported that investigators took photographs of the body before burying it in Saint Helena.

According to Dinsdale Thompson, superintendent of police in Benque Viejo, the body “was still in a recognizable state,” but covered with machete wounds.

Police now suspect that Townsend’s laptop, clothing and truck were stolen during a struggle at his home. They are working with authorities in Guatemala to track down two male suspects and have asked a Guatemalan judge for permission to exhume the Canadian’s remains.

By the time Kory arrived in his father’s adopted homeland, the only thing left to do was confirm that the gruesome photographs were indeed of his dad.

“This has been such an insane trip for me. You go searching for results and sometimes you dig farther than you want to dig,” Kory Townsend told CTV.

“I’m exhausted. I’m trying to stay strong and finish this process out.”

The Townsend family announced the missionary’s death online, changing the Facebook page into a memorial for Brian. Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)