Investigation into Swaney's unsolved murder continues more than a year later

Authorities believe more than one person may be involved in the murder of Anne Swaney, a Platte City native found dead while on vacation in Belize last January.

According to a report from ABC 7 in Chicago, the FBI official believes the crime can still be solved more than a year later with help from the public. Swaney worked as an executive producer of online operations at ABC 7 at the time of her death.

Anne Swaney

Anne Swaney

The Belize National Police remain in charge of the investigation, but the FBI bureau in Miami continues to offer assistance, according to ABC 7.

Last week, the FBI offered a $10,000 reward for information that helps identify Swaney’s murderer.  They have established a phone number in Belize for tips and information because U.S. authorities believe locals might have information about the case, according to ABC 7.

“We are still awaiting some test results that were sent abroad. Other than that there are still no leads,” Belize police inspector Stanley Bowden told ABC 7.

Authorities in the small English-speaking Central American country of Belize discovered the body of Anne Swaney, 39, face down in a river Friday, Jan. 15, 2016 near a small horse farm she was staying at while on vacation. A 1994 graduate of Platte County High School, she served as student council president in her senior year and earned the title of salutatorian for her graduating class. 

Swaney was active throughout her student life and participated in French Club, Forensics, Writer’s Inc. and Art Club while playing volleyball and basketball. In addition, Swaney sang in concert choir, served as editor of the yearbook and was a member of the National Honor Society. She also earned the title of Platte County Fair Queen in 1994.

Swaney went on to graduate from Northwestern’s prestigious Medill School of Journalism in Chicago in 1998. She briefly worked for the ABC news affiliate in St. Joseph, Mo. before going on to work the past 16 years at ABC 7, becoming one of the organization’s first online product employees and most recently serving as executive producer of online operations at abc7chicago.com.

Traveling to Belize for a second time in two years, Swaney was staying in western Belize at the same location she had stayed at during her trip the previous year. Reports indicate that she was scheduled to go on a horseback ride on Thursday, Jan. 14 but there were more riders than horses.

Swaney volunteered to stay behind and went to a nearby area to do some yoga and did not return.

The owner of the small resort reported her missing that night, and her body was discovered the following day. There were bruises on Swaney’s neck and lacerations to her head, and the cause of death was determined to be strangulation.

A Guatemalan fisherman had been detained and questioned shortly after the crime. He has since been interviewed again, according to ABC 7, but no charges have been filed in the case.

Police said no one has been ruled out a suspect, but Belize police admit there is no evidence that anyone at the resort where Swaney was staying was involved in her murder.

“We want to reassure the family, as well, that we are doing everything in our power to bring closure to this case,” Martinez said. “I’m hopeful that we will solve it, it’s very important to this country.”