A badly decomposed body of a man found in Guatemala has been identified as Brian Townsend, the Edmonton missionary who went missing in Belize on Christmas.

"We have made formal identification," said Belize Commanding Officer Dinsdale Thompson, who added that the wounds sustained by Townsend show that he was killed.   

"We do know that, for sure, that it is a homicide and we are looking [in] that direction as well of the motive, of why they have killed him."

Police have two male suspects and are working with authorities in Guatemala in tracking them down. 

The confirmation was first revealed through a posting by a family member on the "Brian Townsend — Missing Belize" Facebook page: "With grieving hearts we inform you that the body found in Guatemala is Brian Townsend."

Townsend, 64, had been living and working in the Central American country for nearly a decade. 

He was last heard from when he asked his cook to prepare dinner for him on Christmas Day. By the time she got to his house, Townsend was gone.

His vehicle was missing and it looked as if his house had been vandalized. The cook also saw a trail of blood outside the house.

Kory Townsend flew to Belize on Saturday to help look for his father. He called off the search after he learned a body was found in the river, just over the border in Guatemala.

Townsend said the Canadian Consulate had been instrumental in arranging the identification.

“I’m exhausted. I’m trying to stay strong and and finish this process out,” he said.