American doctor, tour guide found murdered in Belize

By Samantha Smith - Digital Content Producer

Courtesy of Carilion Clinic

SAN PEDRO, Belize - An American doctor and his tour guide were found murdered in Belize Sunday, according to officials with Carilion Clinic. 

Gary Swank, 53, was a cardiologist at Carilion Clinic in Virginia. Authorities in Belize tell the San Pedro Sun that he was found floating face down in a lagoon with several gunshot wounds. Marion Nestle Jr. Graniel, 53, a Belizian tour guide, was also found dead with several gunshot wounds. 

Below is the full statement from Chris Turnbull, director of corporate communications with Carilion Clinic: 

"Today we learned the tragic news that Dr. Gary Swank, interventional cardiologist, medical director of Carilion Clinic’s Cardiac Catheterization Lab and an associate professor of internal medicine at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, was found murdered, along with his local tour guide, in Belize yesterday. 

We are heartbroken at his loss. Dr. Swank was a well-respected and well-loved colleague who, each and every day, embodied the values that we hold dear. His absence leaves a void in our team and in our community. Our thoughts, prayers and attention are now focused on helping his family navigate this difficult time. 
After further investigation, authorities believe Swank and Graniel were fly fishing at the San Pedro Town Lagoon when a skiff passed by and opened fire on their boat." 

Swank and Graniel's bodies were taken to the San Pedro Polyclinic, where the two were pronounced dead. Authorities are still investigating the incident.   

The U.S. Department of State has released a Level 2 Travel Advisory for Belize due to "violent crime," such as "sexual assault, home invasions, armed robberies, and murder." 

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