Authorities in Belize say an American tourist found face-down in a river on Friday was strangled, ABC 7 reports. Anne Swaney, a 39-year-old executive producer for ABC 7 in Chicago, was staying at the Nabitunich resort in the town of Benque Viejo del Carmen on the Belize-Guatemala border. She was supposed to go on a group horseback ride on Thursday, but stayed back because there were too few horses. Instead, authorities tell ABC, Swaney went to a deck on the river to do yoga. The resort owner reported Swaney missing when she failed to return after nine hours, reports Breaking Belize News. Searchers found Swaney's belongings on the deck by the river; the next morning they found her partially clothed body in the water.
Bruises on her neck and lacerations on both sides of her head "led us to believe that she was murdered," the local police superintendent tells CBS Chicago. "We also suspect that she might have been sexually violated." Autopsy results have confirmed that Swaney was strangled, per ABC 7. John H. Idler, president and general manager of ABC 7, says Swaney was an avid traveler and a "trailblazer in the digital news space," adding that she was "a kind person who always had a smile and a positive attitude." There is no nationwide tourist advisory for Belize, ABC 7 notes, but visitors are advised to be cautious—especially in the Cayo District, where Swaney was killed—because of an increase in crimes against tourists in the Central American country in recent years.