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Belize police find SUV of missing Ontario mother Francesca Matus

The abandoned SUV of an Ontario woman missing in Belize has been found in a sugarcane field in the small Central American country, police confirmed on Monday. It's the first sign of Francesca Matus and her boyfriend, U.S. citizen Drew De Voursney, since they disappeared nearly a week ago.

Nearly a week after mysterious disappearance, vehicle is 1st sign of Matus and boyfriend Drew De Voursney

Police in Belize have discovered the abandoned SUV of Francesca Matus, an Ontario woman who hasn't been seen since last Tuesday. (Channel 7 Belize)

The abandoned SUV of an Ontario woman missing in Belize has been found in a sugarcane field in the small Central American country, police confirmed Monday.

It's the first sign of Francesca Matus and her boyfriend, U.S. citizen Drew De Voursney, since their mysterious disappearance last Tuesday night. CBC Toronto has confirmed Matus, the mother of two adult children, is originally from Sault Ste. Marie and spends winters in Belize. 

Matus's vehicle, a white Isuzu Rodeo, was discovered on Sunday afternoon near the village of Paraiso, Cpl. Herman Roberts of the Corozal Police Department said in a telephone interview.

Roberts said officers and police dogs have returned to the area to search today.

Last seen leaving bar

Friends of Matus, 52, and De Voursney, 36, say the couple was last seen leaving a bar near Matus's home in the coastal city of Corozal, about 130 kilometres north of the capital, Belmopan.

The Corozal Police Department confirmed that it found Francesca Matus's white Isuzu SUV on Sunday afternoon. (Channel 7 Belize)

Nancy Rifenbark, a close friend of Matus, said she's relieved police finally have a clue, but the abandoned SUV is also concerning.

"It's getting harder to keep positive, but I'm trying my best," Rifenbark said in an interview on Monday.

Another friend, Joe Milholen, told CBC that Matus was planning to fly to Canada last Wednesday.

Milholen was supposed to drive Matus to the airport, but he arrived at her home on Wednesday morning to find her missing along with the SUV.

Milholen added that De Voursney's motorcycle was in the driveway.

Friends have made this missing persons poster to get more information about the disappearance of Matus and Drew De Voursney.

About the Author

Trevor Dunn is an award-winning journalist with CBC Toronto. Since 2008 he's covered a variety of topics, ranging from local and national politics to technology on the South American countryside. Trevor is interested in uncovering news: real estate, crime, corruption, art, sports. Reach out to him. Se habla español. trevor.dunn@cbc.ca