Canadian in custody in Belize as police investigate Toronto woman’s death

Canadian detained in death of woman in Belize

Police in Belize says a Canadian man remains in custody as a “person on interest” in connection with the deaths of a Toronto woman and her American boyfriend this week.

Police in the Central American country have said 52-year-old Francesca Matus and her American boyfriend, Drew DeVoursney, died of strangulation.

Their bodies were found Monday in a sugar cane field in Belize’s Corozal district — six days after they were last seen leaving a bar around 11 p.m.

A Belize police sergeant told The Canadian Press late Thursday night that the man was still in custody and “still very much a person of interest.”

The sergeant, who did not want his name used, added that the man was no longer in Corozal, but in the Caribbean coast town of Placencia where he has been taken to face a burglary charge.

“More than likely he should be going to court tomorrow (Friday) for the burglary, so he’s not released … he’s a person of interest for the murders,” he said.

The sergeant said there are “other people” police are looking at in connection with the murders, but there is no one else in custody.

A spokesman with Global Affairs Canada said Thursday afternoon that consular officials were assisting the family of the detained Canadian and were in contact with local authorities.

DeVoursney’s mother said earlier on Thursday that the U.S. embassy in Belize told her two people who had been questioned in the case have since been released.

Char DeVoursney also said the Federal Bureau of Investigation is helping with the homicide investigation.

Dozens of Canadian and American expats were involved in a search for the pair, scouring the area for any hint of their whereabouts.

Matus was scheduled to fly to Toronto the day after she disappeared. When a friend arrived at her home to drive her to the airport, her truck was missing, but her suitcases, passport and money remained inside.

Her truck was found several days later abandoned in a field far from where the bodies were discovered.

Police said the bodies were in an “advanced state of decomposition” with DeVoursney’s body found on top of Matus’s. Police also said tape was found around their wrists.

Char DeVoursney said she’s disappointed by the lack of progress in the investigation, but is hopeful her son’s remains will be returned home soon.

“We’re hoping to bury him in a national cemetery here in Georgia,” she said.

Ivana Pucci, Matus’s cousin, said the Canadian government has made arrangements to bring her relative’s remains home, but is not sure when that will occur.

In Belize, the bar where Matus and her boyfriend were last seen planned to hold a memorial celebration for the couple on Thursday.


Liam Casey, The Canadian Press

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