May 4, 2017 3:45 pm
Updated: May 5, 2017 12:09 am

Canadian in custody in Belize as police investigate deaths of Ontario woman, American man

Canadian Francesca Matus is seen in this picture from her Facebook page.

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Police in Belize say a Canadian man remains in custody as a “person of interest” in connection with the deaths of a Toronto woman and her American boyfriend this week.

A spokesman with Global Affairs Canada said Thursday afternoon that consular officials are assisting the family of the detained Canadian and are in contact with local authorities.

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Police in the Central American country have said 52-year-old Francesca Matus and her American boyfriend, Drew DeVoursney, died of strangulation. Their bodies were found on Monday in a sugar cane field in the country’s Corozal district.

They were last seen leaving a bar around 11 p.m. six days earlier.

READ MORE: Belize police detain two suspects in death of Francesca Matus, Drew DeVoursney: reports

A Belize police sergeant told The Canadian Press late Thursday night that the man was still in custody and “still very much a person of interest.”

The sergeant, who did not want his name used, added that the man was no longer in Corozal, but in the Caribbean coast town of Placencia where he has been taken to face a burglary charge.

“More than likely he should be going to court tomorrow (Friday) for the burglary, so he’s not released … he’s a person of interest for the murders,” he said.

DeVoursney’s mother said earlier on Thursday that the U.S. embassy in Belize told her two people were questioned in the case and have since been released.

VIDEO: Belize police say discovery of Ontario woman and her American boyfriend being treated as homicide investigation

Char DeVoursney also said the Federal Bureau of Investigation is helping with the homicide investigation.

Dozens of Canadian and American expats were involved in a search for the pair, scouring the area for any hint of their whereabouts.

Matus was scheduled to fly to Toronto the day after she disappeared. When a friend arrived at her home to drive her to the airport, her truck was missing, but her suitcases, passport and money remained inside.

READ MORE: Canadian found dead: Here’s what you need to know about travel to Belize

Her truck was found several days later abandoned in a field far from where the bodies were discovered.

Police said the bodies were in an “advanced state of decomposition” with DeVoursney’s body found on top of Matus’s. Police also said tape was found around their wrists.

Char DeVoursney said she’s disappointed by the lack of progress in the investigation, but is hopeful her son’s remains will be returned home soon.

READ MORE: Police confirm Canadian woman, American boyfriend killed in Belize were strangled

“We’re hoping to bury him in a national cemetery here in Georgia,” she said.

Ivana Pucci, Matus’s cousin, said the Canadian government has made arrangements to bring her relative’s remains home, but is not sure when that will occur.

In Belize, the bar where Matus and her boyfriend were last seen planned to hold a memorial celebration for the couple on Thursday.

© 2017 The Canadian Press

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