BDF captain commits suicide in prison

The content originally appeared on: Amandala Newspaper

BELIZE CITY, Mon. Sept. 26, 2022

The apparently self-inflicted death of Damacio Coc, a captain within the Belize Defence Force, has left his family and friends reeling and in utter disbelief. Captain Coc, 33, was found hanging from a bed sheet in his cell at the Belize Central Prison by a prison guard during a routine check on Sunday morning at around 10:30, and the results of an initial investigation are pointing to suicide as the cause of his death.

Capt. Coc was reportedly remanded on August 25 of this year after breaching a protection order placed against him by his wife, Angelica Escalante. He was awaiting a bail hearing and had been imprisoned for just one month, alone in a cell in the Tango 10 section of the prison, reports say.

He was seen alive early Sunday morning during a routine search at around 7:00 a.m., and sometime around 8:10 a.m. again, according to Virgilio Murillo, CEO of the Kolbe Foundation, which manages the prison. It was around 10: 30 a.m. that a prison guard saw a white sheet covering the door of Coc’s cell and, after moving it to see inside, he discovered the soldier’s lifeless body.

According to Murillo, there was no indication that Coc was mentally unstable or prone to self-harm, and he reportedly told the prison guard on duty that he was doing fine when asked during the 8: 00 a.m. check.

“Instinctively, I imagine the guard decided to stop and check with him, and the last thing he told the guard at about 8:10 was that he was all right. He didn’t say much, based on what the guard is saying, he’s saying that he never looked depressed or anything like that, so he took it to mean that he was okay and there was nothing to worry about,” Murillo said.

Without providing any details about prison policy, Murillo noted that the soldier was placed in a cell by himself.

“The placement for Mr. Coc was quite appropriate. His placement was determined based on a classification process that we have,” Murillo said.

Expressions of condolences and disbelief flooded social media following the announcement of Coc’s passing. Some comments on social media point to a troubled relationship between Coc and his wife. One close family member suggested that the strained relations between the two led to the protection order, but Coc, because of his love for the woman and their children, refused to leave the relationship still seeing the family even with the restraining order in place some reports suggest.

One of the family members remarked, “I wished u listened! I wish I could have been a better cousin, I told u that the way I was treating u wasn’t because I wanted to but because of ur wife!”

Suggestions are that the placement of a protection order against Coc, known to be a career soldier and upstanding man by all accounts, was frivolous.

“Damacio Coc did not deserve to be there in the first place. I checked on you when I could, Bro, and was looking forward to hearing you being freed, was looking forward to this Thursday,” another friend of Coc posted on social media, hinting that this coming Thursday would have been the date of his bail hearing.

But in a social media post that has since been deleted, Angelica Escalante claims that she was in an abusive relationship with the solider.

“It is no secret that Damacio and I were going through a divorce, it is also no secret that I had a restraining order on him. I cut everyone related to him off because when I was getting beat up and fighting for my if everyone would tell me to leave him but when I did and I made the reports and he was sent to prison, everyone close to him started blame me for him being sent back there,” Escalante stated in the post. She went on to say that she still had not accepted the news and refused to believe that he committed suicide.

“Things were bad between us but I wanted him to get better.. I wanted the drinking to stop, I loved him and I wanted him to be a better person for our daughter,” Escalante further said in the post.