Sign of the Times
While Murders of Foreigners are on the Rise, the Community Becomes more Matter-of-fact

July 1st, 2009
by Thomas Tomczyk

[private] v7-7-My Voice-Crimes

When in December 2005 Gary Smith, a little-known-in-the-community retired American was shot and killed at his Brick Bay home, an emergency meeting was called of authorities and foreigners. The then mayor Jerry Hynds put up a reward for information leading to the arrest of the assailants.

Three years later, murders of foreigners have spiked, and both local authorities and even foreign residents have become increasingly matter-of-fact about this violence. Four foreigners were murdered here since October and no emergency meetings were called. The only people who seemed concerned enough to put up rewards to assure justice are the victims’ families and friends. The homicide rate in Honduras in general has doubled in the last four years, and Bay Islands cannot escape that overall trend.

At a party a woman asked me: “You are not going to report on the murder of Steve Jazz? You just have so much negative stuff.” I answered her: “It would be dishonest not to acknowledge the death of someone who spent 11 years here. To pretend that everything is just fine would be unethical and heartless.”

Over the last seven years the number of foreigners living in the Bay Islands has increased, perhaps doubled. So has the homicide rate. The people that are responsible for public safety and who should be reducing crime in Bay Islands are not being held accountable for not doing their job.

The approximately 4,000 foreigners that are living in the Bay Islands comprise less then five percent of the entire population. They are disproportionally more likely to be victims of crime and sometime foreigners are perpetrators of crimes and even murders.

Ten foreign passport holders were murdered in the Bay Islands in six-and-a-half years: one every eight months, on average. I compiled a list of all the foreigners that have been killed. I knew five of the men killed, two of them I called my friends. I sometimes saw them days, or just hours before they were killed.

Two of the victims were dual Honduran and foreign nationals. One case was ruled a justifiable homicide. All of the foreigners killed were male, most of them in their 50s and 60s, with an average age of 55. A majority of these victims had what could be described as a ‘type A’ personality, sometimes conflictive, sometimes inflexible towards the ‘rules of the game’ of their adopted homes.

Foreigners
murdered in the Bay Islands (2009-2004)
Date Name
Age
Nationality Context Motive Case
Status
2009,
June 2
Steve
Jazz
63 USA Shot
at his Corozal home
Unknown
No
arrests
2009,
February 27
Roger
Walls
71 Canada Shot
at his Corozal property
Money/property Island
woman arrested
2008,
November 13
Don
Tollefson
58 USA Kidnapped,
shot, stabbed
Personal
conflic
Arrests
of two islanders
2008,
October 25
Lynn
Elkin Woods
36 US/Hond. Shot
on street in Coxen Hole
Unknown Suspect
at large
2007,
March 6
Nicolai
Winter
42 German Victims
property Shot
Unknown No
arrests
2005,
December 11
Gary
Smith
58 US Shot
at home
Robbery Six
ladino people convicted
2005,
November 13
Thomas
Khuner
45 German machetied
at Hog Islands hotel
Personal
Ladino
male convicted
2005,
June 4
Gary
Fuertado Miller
53 US/Hond. Shot
in police shootout
Personal Ruled
justifiable homicide
2004,
October 4
Tom
Matulas
62 US Shot
at his Roatan home
Propertydispute American
convicted
2004,
October 4
Richard
Bourgerie
63 US Shot
on his driveway
Personal
conflict
Severa
arrested

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