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Men charged with the 2017 brutal murder of young woman, Keonia Ara, set free after not guilty verdict

Posted: Wednesday, February 23, 2022. 4:40 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: After years on remand and months on trial, Jaime Patnett and Shaylon Santos who were charged with the 2017 murder of 18-year-old Keonia Ara, have been set free.

Both men were found not guilty in the Belmopan Supreme Court today, concluding a trial without jury which began back in September of 2021.

Apparently, the forensic evidence which was sent abroad for processing did not tie the defendants to the crime.

With that, the men were found not guilty and told they could go home.

Following the verdict, Ara’s mother, Shirley Mai, spoke with our newsroom and was incredibly distraught by the verdict. Mai noted that Santos had been to her house personally a week before her daughter was murdered. She said she now has to try and pick up the pieces, following the news that changed her family’s life.

Ara’s badly burnt body was found on March 11, 2017, a month after her birthday, at a dumpsite some four miles outside of Belmopan. Shirley Mai, Ara’s mother, identified the body several days later.


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