A U.S. Marine veteran and his Canadian girlfriend have been found dead in Belize, nearly a week after they went missing, according to reports.
The bodies of Drew DeVoursney, 36, of Atlanta, and Francesca Matus, 52, of Toronto, were recovered in a sugarcane field in Corozal on Monday. Their wrists were reportedly wrapped in duct tape and an autopsy found that they had been strangled, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The couple was last seen leaving a bar in Corozal on April 25, Matus’ friend, Joe Milholen, told The Canadian Press.
Matus was supposed to fly back to Canada the next morning, he said, but when Milholen went to drive her to the airport he found her house empty.
“When I went inside, her bags were by her bed, packed and ready to go,” said Milholen, an American who lives in Belize. “She left her passport and her traveling money.”
Her car was later found about 10 miles from the bar they were last seen, according to CBS News.
A State Department official confirmed DeVoursney’s death to HuffPost on Wednesday but declined to provide additional information at this time.
Matus’ friends, speaking to the Toronto Star, described her as a successful realtor and mother of two adult sons who began traveling to Belize four years ago to escape Canada’s winters.
“She never flashed her (wealth), she wasn’t like that … She had everything planned and she was very organized,” her friend, Nikki-Monique Kurnath, told the paper. “There was no cause for alarm prior to this.”
DeVoursney’s family, also speaking to the Toronto Star, said they were devastated by the news.
“I’m not able to really do anything, kind of just sit and think and cry and that’s all I’m capable of at the moment,” said his mother, Cher DeVoursney.
She said her other son, David, flew down to Belize with Drew’s best friend and fellow Marine, Brandon Barfield, to retrieve his belongings, as well as his body.
Cher DeVoursney shared that her son enlisted in the Marines after the 9/11 attacks and served two tours in Iraq. Barfield, who has started a GoFundMe page to raise funds to hire a private investigator, said he met Devoursney while serving in Fallujah, Iraq, in 2004.
Canadian and local authorities did not immediately return requests for comment.