World

Suspect in killing of Marine vet, girlfriend in Belize was friend of victim

Authorities in Belize have named 54-year-old John Deshaies of Canada as the prime suspect in the death of a U.S. Marine veteran from Atlanta and his Canadian girlfriend.

Drew DeVoursney, 36, and his girlfriend, Francesca Matus, 52, were last seen leaving Scotty's Bar and Grill in Corozal in the Central American country on the night of April 25, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

However, a friend of Deshaies said police have the wrong man in custody and the Canadian construction company owner would never harm Matus.

"It's a terrible misunderstanding," the friend told the Toronto Sun. "Francesca was his best friend. He's a really good guy."

The friend, who did not want to be identified, said officers targeted Deshaies because he disappeared shortly after the couple went missing.

"Belize is a very corrupt country," the friend told the Toronto Sun. "I think they're actually keeping him in jail for his own safety. They want it to seem like it's a Canadian or American problem rather than a Belizean one."

The couple were reported missing on Friday after one of their friends went to Matus' home to drive her to the airport and couldn't find her. Matus' car also was gone.

The vehicle turned up Sunday in a sugar cane field, about 10 miles from the bar, The Journal-Constitution reported. A close friend told the newspaper a search party found the bodies of DeVoursney and Matus on Monday.

The bodies reportedly appeared on a road near the field, not far from the country's border with Mexico. Authorities said the bodies showed evidence of strangulation.