FBI seeks any local witness in Belize murder of ABC7 producer Anne Swaney

If the first 24 hours of any murder case are the most critical, then investigators handling the violent death of ABC7 digital producer Anne Swaney were behind from the start.

They hadn't even found her body in the first 24 hours after she was reported missing while on vacation in the Central American nation of Belize.

It was three years ago Tuesday that Swaney, 39, was found floating in the Mopan River, not far from an equestrian resort where she had been staying.

RELATED: ABC7 digital producer murdered in Belize



Although the investigation is still open and under the command of Belizean national police, the FBI has agents from Miami still assigned to the case.

"Part or all of the crime may have been witnessed by someone familiar with the Cayo District of Belize and adjacent Guatemala" FBI agent Jim Marshall told the ABC7 I-Team on Tuesday. "As such, the FBI continues to offer a reward of up to $20,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the murder of Anne Swaney."

The Cayo District in western Belize is adjacent to Guatemala and has a porous boundary, with nationals from both countries moving along the remote border with very little security. After three years, federal agents still believe that someone may have seen what happened to our colleague, witnessed her final moments or simply saw the person who killed her.



Investigators say that an autopsy revealed Swaney had been strangled and that she died from "asphyxia due to compression of the neck area, throttling (manual strangulation) and blunt force traumatic injuries to the head and neck region."

RELATED: FBI: Multiple people may be involved in murder of ABC7 producer

Swaney's belongings were found on a yoga deck next to the river that runs through Nabitunich Farm, a horse and eco-resort popular with Americans and Canadians. Swaney had vacationed there previously.

A 24-year-old Guatemalan fisherman who was in the area at the time of her disappearance was taken into custody by Belize police in January 2016, however the man was released and police said he wasn't involved in the murder. Ranch employees and managers along with some guests were questioned by local police. Several employees turned over DNA to police.

Indeed, only the calendar and the reward have changed since the day Anne's body was found. As we reported in 2017, 2018 and now 2019, there have been no prime suspects and no justice in the case of our colleague. A reward, offered by the FBI, began at $10,000 and is now at $20,000 for information that leads to an arrest and conviction of her killer.

Investigators have said they believe that multiple people may have been involved in Anne's killing.
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