2 detained in death of Ontario woman and American boyfriend in Belize: police

Canadian embroiled in Belize murder investigation says Ontario woman was 'very good friend'

Two people have been detained in Belize in the death of an Ontario mother of two and her boyfriend after their bodies were found Monday evening in a sugar cane field, police in the Central American country say.

The development comes one day after autopsy results revealed Francesca Matus, 52, and U.S. citizen Drew De Voursney, 36, had been strangled.

Police said their bodies were found in a state of decomposition with tape around their right wrists, according to a news release issued Tuesday, which referred to the case as a murder investigation. 

The couple had been reported missing since leaving a bar in the coastal town of Corozal on the night of April 25 — one day before Matus, a mother of two, was scheduled to fly back to Canada.

But when a friend went to her home in Belize to drive her to the airport, she was nowhere to be found.

Nearly weeklong search

"When I arrived there to pick her up, the gate was closed and the car was gone," Joe Milholen told CBC Toronto on Saturday.

That prompted nearly a week of anxiety for Matus's family, who had been holding out hope she would be found alive. 

On Sunday, police found Matus's SUV, a white Isuzu Rodeo, abandoned in a field about six kilometres outside of town.

"Shocked … sickened … devastated are just a few words that come to mind," Ivana Pucci, Matus's cousin, said via Facebook Messenger when asked how the family was coping on Monday.

According to family, Matus was originally from Sault Ste. Marie and lived in Markham before moving recently to Keswick, Ont., north of Toronto. She worked as a property manager and had two adult sons.

Described as a "snowbird," Matus spent winters in Belize and owned a beach property in Corozal. "She absolutely loved it," Pucci said.

De Voursney was a former Marine from the Atlanta area, according U.S. media reports.