1 year after ABC7 executive producer murdered, ranch owner has lost majority of business

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A year after ABC7 executive producer Anne Swaney was murdered while on vacation in Belize, the owner of the ranch where she was found said he has lost most of his business. (WLS)

ABC7 I-TEAM INVESTIGATION
A year after ABC7 executive producer Anne Swaney was murdered while on vacation in Belize, the owner of the ranch where she was found said he has lost most of his business.

The I-Team revisited the ranch in western Belize where Anne was on vacation in January 2016. Her murder is still unsolved. Employees at the ranch said they were questioned numerous times and provided DNA samples.


Stable workers said FBI agents were on the scene of the ranch frequently this past year, well beyond the week that Anne disappeared from a remote recreation deck near the Mopan River. Her body was found downstream a day later.

Since her murder, the resort that catered to American and Canadian tourists has lost most of that business. Owner Santiago Juan, one of the last to see Anne alive, now depends on farm income and riders from other resorts to make a living. Guests are no longer permitted to be alone at the river where Anne died.

"Nobody can go down there without one of us," said Juan. "You have to have an escort. The Belize government actually has a full-time security force now there, they've increased their presence with the tourist police."

Belize national police have jurisdiction on the case and they said their investigation is right where it was a year ago. Police agreed to an interview with the I-Team, sending us to locations in different cities so the I-Team could update their work on the case, only to abruptly rescind the invitation without explanation.

In an email, local authorities stated that in the past year they and the FBI have revisited potential witnesses in the case, including a Guatemalan national who was arrested near where Anne's body was found. For a short time he was considered a suspect.

The FBI has posted a $10,000 reward offer for information leading to Anne's killer. Federal investigators hope that such an incentive will bring about leads in what is now considered a cold case.

"I've always been optimistic about solving any case that has to be solved," said Juan. "It's important, so I hope they can get to the bottom of it."

The FBI has asked anyone with information to contact local authorities. Later this week, federal investigators said they plan to have a dedicated phone number for information and tips.

Related Topics:
homicide investigationtouristu.s. & worldI-Team
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