Executive producer of ABC7, Anne Swaney, was found dead by a river in Belize on January 15. Authorities believe Swaney was strangled.
Her body was discovered floating face-down wearing just her bra in the Mopan River, which is near Belize’s border with Guatemala.
— ABC 7 Chicago (@ABC7Chicago) January 15, 2016
“Her neck and either side of her head had laceration and that led us to believe it was a case of murder,” Daniel Arzu, Benque Viejo Police Superintendent told ABC7 Chicago.
A post mortem examination revealed she died of “asphyxia due to compression of the neck area, throttling (manual strangulation) and blunt force traumatic injuries to the head and neck region.”
— Chicago Tribune (@chicagotribune) January 16, 2016
The executive web producer’s phone is said to be missing. Her remaining belongings will be turned over to U.S. Embassy officials on Monday, according to WLS-TV.
Anne Swaney was staying at Nabatunich cottages in the city of Benque Viejo in Belize, and according to investigators, she disappeared while doing yoga on Thursday morning. Her tour guide found her yoga mat and her other stuff near the river, but after failing to find her reported her disappearance to the authorities.
— ABC 7 Chicago (@ABC7Chicago) January 16, 2016
A Guatemalan fisherman was being questioned, but he was not declared a suspect. The man, whose name is Rafael Martinez, was considered a person of interest, according to the spokesman for the Belize Ministry of National Security. “He is a person who the police believe can assist in the investigation.”
Anne Swaney was described by the president and general manager of ABC7, John Idler, as a “trailblazer in the digital news space,” and a “kind person who always had a smile and a positive attitude.”
“Anne was our leader, Anne was our conscience. Anne wanted to make sure that every story that we put online was first and foremost right,” director of digital operations at ABC7 Chicago, Kevin Carpenter, shared. “There's always going to be a spot there that we will miss.”