Flight Attendant murdered in San Pedro
Thursday, November 4th, 2010
Information reached The San Pedro Sun on Monday morning, of a possible missing individual. Our investigations were able to confirm that a flight attendant, employee of Maya Island Air International, was reported missing on Sunday afternoon. Maria Antonia Plaza Gomez, a 37 year old resident of Spain was expected to return to Belize City on Sunday afternoon to re-join her co-workers. Our sources informed us that Mrs. Plaza Gomez arrived in San Pedro on Friday afternoon and checked into her hotel room.
The Sun contacted Corona del Mar hotel, where Mrs. Plaza Gomez, we were informed, was to be staying. In a telephone interview with Ms. Marleni Briceño of Corona del Mar, Maria Antonia Plaza Gomez checked into unit 301 at Corona del Mar, on Friday around 1:30pm. She was scheduled to stay for two nights, and was due to check out on Sunday, Oct. 31st at noon. Mrs. Plaza Gomez was last seen by the staff of the hotel on Sunday morning where she was recorded on their surveillance camera at 7:38am, after having her complimentary breakfast. According to Ms. Briceño, she then went upstairs to her room and that was the last time that they saw her. Ms. Briceño informed us that the hotel was contacted by an individual claiming to be Mrs. Gomez’ husband a little after 6pm on Sunday evening, when he was informed that she did not check out, and that she was also not in her unit. Shortly after, they were contacted by Mr. Gach Guerrero from Maya Island Air, who was given the same information.
According to Ms. Briceño, this did not raise a red flag, as on many occasions, if a guest decides to stay an extra night, they would just go ahead and do so and the office would assume that they have decided to stay, if they either do not check out nor inform the office. As of the time of the telephone interview, Mrs. Plaza Gomez’ belongings were still in the unit that she had occupied at the hotel.
In speaking to a representative from Maya International, The San Pedro Sun was informed that the last time Mrs. Gomez made contact with the staff was at 10:30am on Sunday, when she showed up at the Maya Island Air office in San Pedro to re-confirm her 2pm flight. The representative further confirmed that Mrs. Gomez was on the island for two nights already, when she went missing. While the representative is not certain as to what may have occurred, he stressed that he feared for the worst as Mrs. Gomez is very responsible and not the type of individual to not inform someone of her whereabouts.
The San Pedro Police department confirmed that Ms. Plaza Gomez was reported missing on Sunday afternoon at around 4:50pm. A press release issued by Sgt. Fitzroy Yearwood of the Police Press Officer on Wednesday afternoon stated that as a result of an intensive search undertaking; at about 3:00pm on Tuesday 2nd November, 2010, the partially nude body of Maria Antonia Plaza Gomez was discovered off Coconut Drive under a two-storey building. The body now awaits a post mortem examination.
Further investigations into the activities that lead to the discovery of the body revealed that Plaza Gomez was seen at around 11:00am at a local fruit store. In an interview with Julia Menjivar – fruit vendor at a fruit shop located in front of Ramon’s Village on Coconut Drive, she stated that at around 11:00am on Sunday morning, she saw Plaza Gomez moving in a southward direction along Coconut Drive accompanied by a tall, heavy set “gringo” with long, loose hair and carrying a backpack. She reportedly stopped and made a purchase of “cracker jack” and some fruit items. After her purchase, Mrs. Plaza Gomez, along with her companion, continued en route (south bound). The food vendor further claimed that about five minutes later, she observed Mrs. Plaza Gomez around the area of the San Pedro Distributors.
Spearheading the search party for Mrs. Plaza Gomez was local businessman, Milo Paz. According to Mr. Paz, he was contacted by a friend from Maya Island Air who stressed concern about the missing co-worker. Being a business man and actively involved in the tourism industry, Mr. Paz became very concerned and decided to push the cause. He spearheaded the flyer campaign and oversaw the formation of eight teams of searchers. According to Mr. Paz, their investigations regarding the route that Plaza Gomez had taken on Sunday morning led to the conclusion that pushed the search party to concentrate in a one mile radius north of where Mrs. Plaza Gomez was staying. Their reports showed that the victim left her hotel at around 7:38am, stopping off at the Ramon’s gift shop around 9:00am where she made a purchase; 10:3am met her at the offices of Maya Island Air, where she confirmed her 2:00pm flight. This information, coupled with the findings that Mrs. Plaza Gomez had made a purchase around 11:00am at the fruit stall en route to the hotel where she was scheduled to have checked out at noon, led to team to take the abovementioned approach. The concealed body was discovered lying at the residence of Mr. Dennis Sunderman, by a team which included two members from the San Pedro Police Department. When asked whether this incident is a remake of the “Aruba Incident”, Mr. Paz expressed that it is something to be very concerned about. He hopes that the community coming together serves as a demonstration that the community does care and that this is a very isolated incident. Mr. Paz hopes that the culprit will be caught and justice will be served.
At the time this article went to press, the San Pedro Police had two persons detained who they believe can assist in this investigation. Family friend, Ausencio Martinez informs that family members of Plaza Gomez are expected in Belize sometime on Thursday and that plans are being made to transport Gomez’s body back to Spain for burial.In the meanwhile the Police Department is asking the assistance of the public to come forward with any information that can help them in their investigation.