(CMC) – A captain of the Belize Defence Force (BDF), who was awaiting trial for violating a restraining order, has been found dead in his cell.
Captain Damacio Coc, 33, was found hanging from a bed sheet inside his cell in the Tango Ten section of the prison facility on Sunday, the BDF has confirmed.
He is the second BDF member to have allegedly committed suicide and had been awaiting trial since August 25 for violating a restraining order.
Virgilio Murillo, the chief executive officer of the Kolbe Foundation, a non-profit agency dedicated to helping inmates and their family, providing rehabilitation and counselling, confirmed the incident stating, “unfortunately, we had an officer committing suicide by hanging himself in his cell with a sheet”.
“It was during the 10:30 am (local time) check that the guards noticed that he had a white sheet covering his wicket, preventing the guards from seeing inside his cell. A guard would not ignore things like that,” Murillo said.
“It is against the prison rules for prisoners to close off the view of prison guards into their cells. That’s illegal. That’s against policy or rules. So when the guard saw that he found a way to part the white sheet from the wicket and he took a peek inside the cell and that was when he saw the inmate hanging,” he added.
Murillo said that Captain Coc had been in remand for a month and that he showed no signs of suicidal tendencies during the period that he was incarcerated at the facility.
“This is why it caught everybody by surprise because earlier that morning two officers interacted with him briefly. As a matter of fact, one officer asked him if he was okay and he said yes everything was okay,” Murillo explained.
Murillo said that every prison officer who may have interacted with Captain Coc during his short stay never picked up on anything that was amiss.
“So there were really no tell-tale signs so when they found out this happened it kind of shocked everybody.”