ABC Chicago Producer Slain in Belize | NBC Chicago

ABC Chicago Producer Slain in Belize

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A producer for ABC7 Chicago was killed in Belize, police in the nation confirmed. NBC 5's Natalie Martinez reports. (Published Friday, Jan. 15, 2016)

    A producer for ABC7 Chicago was killed in Belize, police in the nation and the State Department confirmed.

    Anne Swaney, 39, served as the executive producer of online operations for abc7chicago.com.

    She was found dead after a daylong search with bruises on her neck and lacerations on either side of her head, Benque Viejo Police Superintendent Daniel Arzu told NBC Chicago. Police believe she may have been sexually assaulted.

    Swaney arrived Saturday alone for a seven-day vacation at Nabatunich Resort, Arzu said. 

    Swaney went out to do yoga Thursday morning around 8 a.m. along the Mopan River near the resort, Arzu said. Hours later, a tour guide found her belongings along the river but no sign of her.

    A photo of the Mopan River, where Anne Swaney's body was found.
    Photo credit: Benque Viejo Police Superintendent Daniel Arzu

    Dogs were brought in to help search for Swaney Thursday night, Arzu said. Her scent was picked up near the river, though she was not located until the following day when she was found floating face-down in the river wearing only a bra Friday morning, he said.

    "We suspect that she may have been sexually violated,” Arzu said. “She had bruises around her neck that reveals that there might have been some strangulation or some sort of fight back.”

    ABC Chicago Producer Murdered in BelizeABC Chicago Producer Murdered in BelizeA producer for ABC7 Chicago was killed in Belize, police in the nation confirmed. NBC 5's Regina Waldroup reports. (Published Friday, Jan. 15, 2016)

    However, an autopsy performed by the Benque Viejo Police Department was unable to determine conclusively if she had been sexually assaulted. The cause of death was ruled to be asphyxia by compression of the neck, manual strangulation and blunt force trauma to the head and neck. 

    All guests and proprietors at the resort are being questioned, Arzu said. About 10 Americans are staying at the resort.

    A photo of Anne Swaney's yoga mat.
    Photo credit: Benque Viejo Police Superintendent Daniel Arzu

    Additionally, evidence collected from scene is being analyzed, police said.

    There are no known suspects at this time, Arzu said. 

    A State Department official said in a statement: "We offer our sincerest condolences to her family and loved ones on their loss. Our consular staff is providing all possible consular assistance."

    Swaney was an avid world traveler and lover of horses, friends said.

    "A lot of people are terribly broken up about this," President and General Manager of ABC7 John H. Idler said in a statement. "She had that capacity to make everybody around here better. She demanded that from those around her. She mentored people throughout her career."

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