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Popular Football Player Detained By Police For Questioning In Imari Galvez Murder

May 18, 2023

Popular Football Player Detained By Police For Questioning In Imari Galvez Murder

Forty-eight hours have passed since the lifeless body of nineteen-year-old Belmopan resident, Imari Galvez, was found off the Hummingbird Highway. Police are yet to level any charges as the investigation continues. But, on Wednesday night, inquiries led them to a football match in Orange Walk where the captain of Verdes Football Club, Woodrow West, was detained. West was in a relationship with the murder victim and information suggested that he was in hiding following the discovery of her lifeless body. But, West was in plain sight, because the semi-pro goal keeper was participating in a match that was being aired live on national television. News Five’s Paul Lopez takes a closer look.

Paul Lopez, Reporting

Woodrow West, captain of Verdes Football Club, was detained for questioning by police on Wednesday night, in connection with the murder of nineteen-year-old Imari Galvez.  West was escorted off the pitch during a football match in Orange Walk Town that was being carried on live television. News Five spoke with Lorin Frazer, manager of Verdes FC, following the match.

On the phone: Lorin Frazer

On the phone: Lorin Frazer, Manager, Verdes FC

“I was sitting in the stands when I saw the police I think it was four MIT officers enter the field of play and they seem to be moving towards the goal where Mr. West was fielding. I cannot say from my vantage point whether they did follow the football protocol where the match commissioner is the person who is tasked and holds the responsibility of conducting a match and responsible for how enters and leaves the field of play.”

On Wednesday night, just before West was detained, Commissioner of Police Chester Williams announced that a popular Belizean footballer was being sought for questioning in connection with the murder. Woodrow West and the nineteen-year-old victim were in a relationship back in March, 2022 when he was suspended from the Belize National Football Team for assaulting her in public. The entire incident was captured on camera, including moments when he threatened to shoot her.

Imari Galvez

Imari Galvez’s lifeless body was found in a state of decomposition on Tuesday night along a feeder road near mile forty on the Hummingbird Highway. She was nude and reportedly sustained a gunshot injury. Galvez went missing between Saturday night and early Sunday morning. Her family believes that she was lured to her death by someone she knew. Despite the gruesome murder, West still suited up and took to the field on Wednesday night in his team’s first playoff match of the season.

On the phone: Lorin Frazer

“Unfortunately I reached the match just at the time when the players was about to walk on but I did have a conversation with Mister West on the phone about after one, minutes to two p.m. and his temperament, state of mind was that he was ready to be there for his team and play the match especially seeing that the magnitude of the game was it was our first playoff match for the 2023 season.”

Paul Lopez

“Where does Verdes stand on his alleged involvement or his detention, as it pertains to his position on the team?”

On the phone: Lorin Frazer

“By virtue of the magnitude of the case, we will prefer that the police do their investigation and let the chips fall where they may and based on those fidnigns Verdes would act or not act, or the direction the direction where the investigation is leading. But as far as we are concerned, a person is innocent until proven guilty and we will not hasten to punish anyone especially if he is innocent.”

Reports are that a second male suspect has handed himself into police for questioning. West also played a match with Verdes on Sunday night, which would have been hours after Galvez went missing. We also asked Frazer about the video from last year in which West assaulted Galvez. He informed us that West was placed on suspension and later allowed to return to the team. Police are yet to level charges for this heinous crime. On Wednesday, reporters asked the victim’s family this question about West.

Imari Galvez

Reporter

“We understand that earlier in the night, she went out with this Mr. West and that she told you that he was drunk so she wouldn’t go with him anymore. Do you think he came back for her later?”

Johanna Caceres

Johanna Caceres, Mother of Imari Galvez

“Nope, I don’t think so. My heart don’t give me that. My heart don’t tell me that, nope.”

Reporting for News Five, I am Paul Lopez.