A suspect in the murder of a Canadian Missionary is found dead

There is a second murder to report tonight.  The body of Marlon Balona was found under shrubs off a feeder road in an isolated area by a resident of the village of La Gracia on Sunday afternoon. It showed signs of strangulation and a strap and his bicycle were found nearby. Balona was a suspect in the murder of Canadian missionary, Brian Townsend, who went missing from his Valley of Peace home on December twenty-fifth and his body later found floating in the Mopan River near Arenal on January second. Duane Moody headed west to La Gracia and files this report.


Duane Moody, Reporting

Just after two on Sunday afternoon, the lifeless body a Valley of Peace resident was found about a quarter mile outside the village of La Gracia located some nine miles from the cutoff to Spanish Lookout on the George Price Highway. The body of Marlon Balona was covered under cohune leaves off a feeder road; he was strangled to death. The discovery was made by a villager who headed to work earlier that day.


Voice of: La Gracia Villager, Discovered Body

“I was going to work in the morning and I had my dogs with me. My dogs then caught a scent and went into the bushes. I checked and I saw that a body was there. I did not see the whole body; I only saw the feet mainly because it was covered. It was covered with cohune leaves.”


The villager quickly notified the chairman of the village who contacted San Ignacio Police. According to Deputy Officer Commanding, Inspector Reymundo Reyes, Balona was wanted for questioning in connection with the murder of Canadian Missionary, Brian Townsend in the neighboring village of Valley of Peace.


Reymundo Reyes

Insp. Reymundo Reyes, Deputy O.C., San Ignacio Police

“They found the body of a Maya descent male person in a face up position with what appeared to be abrasions on his chest and around his neck.”


Duane Moody

“What do you understand happened?”


Insp. Reymundo Reyes

“At this present moment, I cannot say what actually transpired. We are awaiting for the post mortem which will be conducted tomorrow. But what we could say is that the person’s body was covered with cohune leaves, but we noh see no much injuries except for the abrasions that I had mentioned on neck area and on his chest.”


Duane Moody

“What are the indications from the abrasions?”


Insp. Reymundo Reyes

“We believe that maybe the person—because we found a strap close to the body—that maybe that was what was used to strangulate the person. Information that we gathered yesterday is that he was one of the persons wanted in connection with the investigation of the murder of the Canadian from Valley of Peace.”


Duane Moody

“Tell us about how you guys made that link?”


Insp. Reymundo Reyes

“That was based on the ID that was done and we communicated with Belmopan police because at the beginning of the investigation, we didn’t have the identity of the person. It was after the person was identified that we could have made that connection with the body and the person wanted by Belmopan Police.”


It is believed that Balona was killed over the course of Saturday night. Duane Moody for News Five.