After being missing at sea for 8 days, the body of 24-year-old Derrick Ramirez, a fisherman from Dangriga Town, was found in an advanced state of decomposition. His family had been fearing the worst, because the last time he was seen alive was reportedly when 2 gunmen were chasing him down.
Police say that last week, 35-year-old Fisherman Kevin Hernandez reported to them that he was on a fishing trip with Ramirez, his brother, and Joseph Coleman, their brother-in-law. They were about a half a mile north of Cross Caye, and they were in the area diving for lobster. While they were out there, a boat with a rival group of fishermen reportedly showed up and demanded that they leave the area, and stop diving for lobster there.
They were reportedly in the process of removing their fishing camp from Cross Caye when these 3 rival fishermen allegedly showed up about a half-hour later. One of them was reportedly armed with an M-4 carbine, and another had a 9mm pistol.
According to Hernandez, these men immediately opened fire at Ramirez, who fled into the nearby mangroves. He was reportedly pursued, and Hernandez recounted that he heard the sounds of gunfire in the direction that Ramirez and his alleged assailants went. After that, these alleged armed men came back, hopped into the vessel they arrived in, and they left. Hernandez and his brother-in-law reportedly searched for Ramirez after the men left, but they couldn’t find him.
On Monday, August 12th, 2019, a decomposed body was found in the “Gra Gra” Lagoon, which is south of Dangriga Town. The person was unrecognizable, but there was the suspicion that this was Ramirez. His father was able to recognize him using personal belongings found on his body, as well as a tattoo on his leg.
There is confusion about the state that his body was found in. His father told 2 media houses that his head was missing, but he later spoke to another media house to say that only his dreadlocks were removed from his head.
A post-mortem confirmed that he died from a traumatic shock, due to chop wounds.
Coast Guard Personnel had picked up three suspects and delivered them to the police in Dangriga. Among them was Oscar Williams who was considered the main suspect.
?There are many questions that police want answers to in this particular case. They are concerned that it took 2 days for Ramirez’s relatives to report him missing to police. It is being reasoned that if a loved one goes missing in this type of manner, the most likely reaction is that his family would have wanted to urgently report it to police.
?Then, the main suspect, Oscar Williams, was in police custody but 2 police officers, one of whom is the brother of the deceased, an inspector and a constable took him to conduct what is being referred to as “a field interview”. They later returned and reported that this main suspect had escaped from their custody, despite being handcuffed.
?Police Commissioner Chester Williams told the press last week, “The inspector in question, who took Oscar Williams from the other officers and where the other detainees were is the brother of missing Ramirez. So, there is a clear conflict of interest where that is concerning… I must say that we cannot understand how a prisoner can escape from the police on an island… From what we have been briefed is that the prisoner was handcuffed. More so, how can a handcuffed prisoner escaped from two police on an island and they could not find him? I don’t understand that. So there are many discrepancies in their story, many red flags…Our interest right now is to find Mr. Williams and I hope by the grace of God that he is alive, because if he is not, then those officers will have some serious questions to answer.”
Reports indicate that when Williams was taken on the ‘field interview’ there were screams heard coming from the direction where the officers had taken him.
According to police, disciplinary action has been taken against the two officers in question. The extent of that is unknown.