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A Day After Arriving in Belize, Virginia Doctor Is Murdered

Dr. Gary Swank, 53, was vacationing with his wife and 3 kids
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 25, 2019 1:32 PM CDT

(Newser) – As tourist deaths in the Dominican Republic continue to grab headlines comes word of an untimely death due west of there. The State Department had confirmed a Virginia cardiologist who was vacationing with his wife and three children was murdered in Belize on Sunday, just a day after arriving in the country. Dr. Gary Swank and his tour guide, Mario Graniel, were found shot to death on a lagoon near San Pedro, per local police. NBC News reports the 53-year-old was an "avid fly fisherman," and the Roanoke Times indicates he was fishing with Graniel at the time of his death.

WDBJ7 cites a police report it saw via News5 Belize that says the men departed around 10am; 90 minutes later, police responding to a report discovered the bodies. Graniel was allegedly in a skiff; Swank was nearby in the lagoon. Graniel's home was reportedly fired at the previous day, and a local outlet suggests the guide might have been the target. "My brother was just in the wrong place at the wrong time," Martin Swank tells the Times. Swank worked as medical director of Carilion Clinic’s Cardiac Catheterization Lab in Roanoke and taught internal medicine at Virginia Tech. (Read more US tourist killed stories.)

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