Belize police are investigating the deaths of a Canadian woman and her American boyfriend.
Francesca Matus, 52, and former marine Drew DeVoursney, 36, have been missing since last week.
Police told DeVoursney’s family that their bodies were recovered in a sugar cane field Monday night.
The family says that both appear to be strangled, and their hands were tied with duct tape.
The couple were only together a few months, according to DeVoursney’s mother, but her son hoped to eventually move to Belize.
“He was very adventurous,” Char DeVoursney told the BBC.
The couple was last seen on 25 April, leaving a bar in the town of Corozal, on the northern coast of Belize near the Mexican border.
When a friend came by the next day to pick up Matus and take her to the airport to return to Toronto, the couple was not at home, and their car was gone.
Mrs DeVoursney says that her son had been travelling to Belize off and on for four years to visit friends. After studying to become a master diver, he hoped to move to Belize permanently and open up a diving school, she said.
Described as “adventurous and committed”, DeVoursney dropped out of college and enlisted in the Marines following 9/11.
After doing tours of Afghanistan and Iraq, he worked as private contractor in both regions, teaching marines how to use computer equipment in the field.
“He said that was a very scary time and place to be,” Mrs DeVoursney said.
Spokespeople for Canada Global Affairs and the US State Department say that the respective countries are offering consular assistance to the victim’s families.
Matus was the mother of two adult sons who spent her winters in Belize, friends told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. A memorial page on Facebook was filled with condolences from friends, who said she “touched so many hearts”.
Brandon Barfield, a friend of DeVoursney who served with him in Iraq, said the couple’s family and friends will continue to fight for justice.
“Today is the first day of seeking out the people who are responsible for robbing us of the ones we love,” he said on a GoFundMe page he started when the couple went missing.
Ex-Marine and girlfriend found ‘strangled’