Francesca Matus: What we know about the Canadian found dead in Belize
Matus and former U.S. marine DeVoursney had been missing for approximately a week; the pair was last seen the evening of Tuesday, April 25 leaving a restaurant. Matus was due to fly back to Canada on a WestJet flight on April 26, but while she checked into the flight online, she never boarded the plane. On Monday evening, the couple’s bodies were found in a sugar cane field in the Corozal district with – according to DeVoursney’s mother – duct tape wrapped around their wrists.
Matus was a mother of two sons, and a real estate investor in Markham, Ont. She was originally from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., and owned homes in both Canada and Belize. She habitually spent between five and six months of the year, usually during winter, at her Belize residence.
Several media reports as well as Facebook images describe Matus as approximately 5’1″ tall with shoulder-length brown hair. When she disappeared, she was reportedly wearing white denim shorts with a white long-sleeved blouse.
Her LinkedIn page describes her as an investor and property manager in the Toronto area, as well as the owner and president of Boardwalk Developments for the past seven years, though she is not listed on the website. Matus apparently met her boyfriend in Belize during the winter of 2016, and they’d been dating for several months.
DeVoursney, a Marine, completed two tours in Iraq, according to his friend Brandon Barfield, who started a GoFundMe webpage last week for helping out the search efforts. Barfield, who used to live with DeVoursney said he relocated to Belize in the fall of 2016.
Friends in the area say they were a well-liked pair. One friend of the couple, Nancy Rifenbark, reported the discovery to Global News on Monday evening.
“They were both found …They are dead,” she said via Facebook. Rifenbark was part of the search team Monday and was the last one to see the couple alive last Tuesday. Matus’ white SUV was found abandoned in a field on Sunday afternoon.
Matus’ Facebook timeline has been flooded with notes of condolences since the news of her death broke.
Their deaths are being investigated as homicides. Global News reached out to Global Affairs Canada to inquire about the investigation.
“Our thoughts are with the loved ones of the Canadian citizen who passed away in Belize. Consular services are being provided to the family during this difficult time. Canadian consular officials continue to liaise with local authorities to gather additional information,” said Global Affairs Canada spokesperson Austin Jean.
The Canadian government has not issued a travel advisory for Belize, but warned Canadians earlier this year to “exercise a high degree of caution due to a high rate of violent crime throughout the country.”
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