A year after a U.S. Marine veteran from Georgia and his Canadian girlfriend were killed after they left a bar in the Central American country of Belize, their murders remained unsolved and no arrests have been made.
Drew DeVoursney, 36, and Francesca Matus, 52, were seen last at Scotty’s Bar and Grill in Corozal in April 2017. Her car turned up soon afterward in a sugar cane field, about 10 miles from the bar.
Their bodies, missing for a week, appeared on a road near the field, not far from the country’s border with Mexico. Authorities said the bodies showed signs of strangulation and tape was found on their wrists.
Friends and family members say they are frustrated that the killer has not been caught.
“There has been nothing — no closure for the families,” Colin McGowan, a Scottish expatriate who is co-owner of Scotty’s Bar and Grill, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
DeVoursney had been stationed in Fallujah in 2004. With his guitar, he would perform Lynyrd Skynyrd and Allman Brothers songs during his Iraqi deployment. He survived rocket-propelled grenade attacks with his buddy, Brandon Barfield, who told The Journal-Constitution they bought five acres near Corozal Bay, and planned to develop a vacation home on it.
“He was my brother,” Barfield, a commercial fisherman, told the Journal-Constitution. Both were Southerners and huge Florida State University football fans. “I think about him every day.”
It was Barfield, The Journal-Constitution reported, who got the ball rolling when DeVoursney went missing — alerting the FBI, starting a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for hiring a private investigator and traveling to Belize to ask dozens in the area about the disappearance.
A year ago, authorities in Belize named 54-year-old John Deshaies of Canada as a person of interest in the deaths of DeVoursney, who did two tours in Iraq and worked as a military contractor in Afghanistan, and Matus, a mother of two. The Journal-Constitution reported that Deshaies, who rented space on the ground floor of Matus’ seaside home in Belize, has not been charged in connection with the killings and has denied involvement in the murders.
The paper reported that the Canadian construction company owner told local television reporters: “Not at all. She is a very good friend of mine. Absolutely not.”
Deshaies has been accused of stealing from a local casino. He pleaded not guilty to the theft and handling stolen goods charges, according to The Journal-Constitution. He has been out on bail.
DeVoursney’s mother, Char, who lives in the Atlanta area, told The Journal-Constitution that her family has not heard anything new from authorities recently.
The U.S. State Department referred questions from The Journal-Constitution about the investigation to Belizean authorities, who didn’t respond to request for comment. The FBI confirmed to The Journal-Constitution it is still assisting with the investigation, but declined to comment further.
“It’s been real, real quiet and frustrating,” DeVoursney’s mother said.