Sunday, 10 August 2008

Death on the Rio Dulce.

I woke from a deep sleep to the sound of gunfire. It was sometime after 8pm but before 10. In my sleepy state I thought it sounded like between 6-8 shots from a handgun. Not too close but not that far away either. Not an uncommon sound on the river. Convincing myself that it was probably a fire cracker, after all it is Saturday night, I went back to sleep.

Just after 10pm we were awakened by a firm knocking on the hull. TBH opened the hatch to find an obviously shaken Cindy on the dock.

“There's been an incident at Monkey Bay ( across the river from us) Sunday's Child was anchored just off the marina . Dan is dead and Nancy has been taken to hospital in Morales. Hugo, the guard, has permission to fire his gun, you may want to lock your hatch tonight.”

What to say? What to think? Dan and Nancy came to Spanish lessons here at Mario's twice a week.

Guatemala is a young democracy. We locked the hatch. Went back to bed. Dan is dead.

It's 10am now. The mood on the Rio is muted. The facts are becoming public. Last night as Dan and Nancy sat down to dinner on their boat, which was anchored in a quiet spot close to Monkey Bay Marina, they heard a bump and Dan went up to see what it was. He was attacked by 3-4 people with machetes. Dan was killed, Nancy was stabbed. The men were demanding money.

We remember when they bought the boat, it was here at Mario's Marina, just a few months ago.

I understand that Dan and Nancy came from Alaska. They were down here getting to know their new purchase, a Southern Cross 39. The boat is now being held by the police as they, hopefully, begin the task of solving this case.

One of the guys from here at Mario's took Nancy to hospital last night in his truck. He told us that she had a large machete wound across her upper torso. She was in deep shock but able to tell some of what had happened. She has a punctured lung.

As you can imagine there have been many conversations already of what, if any, effect this will have on the Rio.You can't stop people talking after all. What I feel is important is to remember that this is a RARE event, sure there are thefts and robberies on the Rio. This is Central America. But a murder is not common amongst the 'gringo' population and certainly one with such a seemingly obvious lack of any motive.

My gut feel is that there is more to this than meets the eye. It's such a rare happening. For now we wait and hope that Nancy recovers from her wounds.

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