Their wrists had been bound with duct tape and they were dead beside the woman’s old SUV.
The Isuzu had been stripped for parts.
Now, the doomed duo’s final resting place would be a sugar cane field about to be scorched.
Thousands of miles from home.
Three years later, it doesn’t appear cops in two countries are any closer to unravelling the mysterious strangulation murders of Keswick real estate speculator Francesca Matus, 52, and her boyfriend, former U.S. Marine, Drew DeVoursney, 36, of Georgia.
From the start, detectives believed that the murders were carried out by more than one person. DeVoursney stood 6’6″ and could handle himself in a fight. It would have taken a gun or more than one conspirator.
Sadly, homicide is not a rarity in Belize. The tiny nation has the highest murder rate in the world. Some of the dead have been Canadians.
Most of the slayings are connected to the drug trade and tiny Corazon in the country’s northeast corner is not far from the killing fields of Mexico.
Maybe Matus saw something she wasn’t supposed to? Cops aren’t saying.
Even the FBI has lent a hand. Going so far as to offer a $20,000 for information that leads to the arrest of the killer.
Despite the increasing danger, Matus was besotted with the Central American country where she spent her winter months with a fun-loving group of Canadians, Americans and Brits.
She would eventually die there.
On April 25, 2017, as Matus was preparing to return home the next day, the couple hooked up with friends for goodbye drinks at Scotty’s Bar and Grill, a watering hole in Corazon popular with ex-pats.
The couple left the bar around 11 p.m. and were never seen alive again.
Sources told the Toronto Sun at the time that the investigation by inexperienced and under-resourced local cops was botched from the beginning.
Matus —a mother of twin boys — had been threatened in the days before she was murdered. What the threats were about and who delivered them remains a mystery.
But Belize is a wild west when it comes to real estate and property development and the most likely theory is that the double murder was connected to her investments.
Early on, cops arrested Matus’ tenant, a Canadian man from Barrie named John Deshaies but he had been a close friend and her brother Tony Rino told The Sun he would never harm her. Investigators eventually agreed.
Another possibility is a mysterious American real estate investor known to play rough and whom locals claimed coveted Matus’s ocean front property that she had recently sold.
She had planned to leave Belize behind and instead spend part of the year in her native Italy.
Those were plans the devoted gypsy would never see to fruition. Instead, murder found the vivacious woman in paradise.
Friends and family are skeptical that they will ever see justice.
Somewhere, someone knows who was behind the gruesome death in the tropics. And they will know why.
But like a lot of other ex-pat murders in exotic locales those are answers that will likely never come.