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Deadly Home Invasion in Kontiki; An Elderly Man is Shot and Killed

Apr 11, 2023

Deadly Home Invasion in Kontiki; An Elderly Man is Shot and Killed

William Maxwell Smith

There was a home invasion in San Ignacio Town on Easter Sunday that resulted in the murder of an elderly retiree.  William Maxwell Smith returned to Belize in February and was here to oversee the construction of a resort in the Kontiki area, where he also resided. On the morning of April ninth, a pair of thieves entered Smith’s sprawling compound and proceeded to burglarize his home.  During the incident, multiple shots were fired, resulting one of the intruders being injured and Smith being mortally wounded.  It is an incident that has shaken up the community, as the seventy-two-year-old was well-known and respected in that western municipality.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano begins our coverage of the events that transpired over the extended holiday weekend.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

A deadly aggravated burglary over the Easter weekend has left a well-known family in San Ignacio distraught after losing its patriarch during the harrowing incident.  Seventy-two-year-old William Maxwell Smith was at home in the Kontiki area of town when an armed duo ventured onto his property.  His son, who wished not to appear on camera, recounts what took on place on Easter Sunday.

Voice of: Eldridge McDougall

Voice of: Eldridge McDougall, Son of Deceased

“On Sunday around ten o’clock in the morning, my eldest son called me and he  told me that he heard that there were some shots in the area on top of the hill and he asked me to find out exactly what the shots were all about.  A couple minutes later, I had another friend of mine that texted me and he asked me if everything was okay.  At the same time, I never knew what happened.  I was still at home.  From there, I took and I went down by the police station and that’s when I saw one of the workers for my dad and he came out and his eye was red, like he had been crying.  And he told me that he is sorry for what had happened.”

Commissioner of Police Chester Williams told reporters this morning that when officers responded to the report of gunshots in that area, they too came under fire by the assailants.

Chester Williams

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

“Upon police arrival at the location, they came under fire by those persons who were engaged in the home invasion.  Police returned fire and one of the individuals was caught to the leg and he was subsequently detained by the police.  A search of the house that was being burglarized, police found the lifeless body of the home owner, one Mr. Smith, with gunshot injuries.  Also, there were a number of persons, including the wife of the now deceased and they gave the police certain information.”

According to Eldridge McDougall, his father, a retiree who worked at the United Nations in New York, was always traveling to and from the U.S. and Belize, where he had planned on resettling after building a resort in San Ignacio.

Voice of: Eldridge McDougall

“Well, from my basic knowledge of what I know, he always goes back to the States, back and forth, and he is an icon here in San Ignacio.  Everybody knows that he is a man that lives in the States and that he is building a building and attract attention to many around the country and that probably sparked some kind of attention to people that’s he’s back and forth to Belize and the States and probably that’s why he became a target.”

Quick police work led investigators to another suspect, as well as the recovery of several firearms that were stolen from the residence.  The officers were also able to retrieve one of the weapons believed to have been used in the commission of the home invasion.

William Maxwell Smith

Chester Williams

“Based on the police’s observation of the scene, as well as information shared with the police by those who were present, police launched an intense manhunt for a second suspect.  That second suspect is now in police custody and there were two firearms stolen from the home of Mr. Smith during the aggravated burglary.  Those two firearms have also been recovered by the police, as well as one of the weapons used by burglars when they entered the home.  That weapon was also recovered by the police, and so, at this time the investigators are putting the pieces together and hopefully we should be able to lay charges against those two individuals today.”

The community is reeling from the murder of the elderly San Ignacio resident, a well-known and outstanding Belizean whose only dream was to return home and open a business of his own.

Voice of: Eldridge McDougall

“Any loss is a major loss for a family.  My brothers, you know, they will be coming in shortly.  In another couple of days they will be here and it’s hard going forward but we just keep it as a family and we keep trying, you know, from one day to the next, you know. He held a high position at the United Nations, working for Belize for many years, and he is a retired person from the UN.  He used to live in New York, you know, and now he decided that he wanted to come to Belize to build a resort and, you know, to come and retire here in Belize.”

Isani Cayetano for News Five.