The daughter-in-law of a politically connected British billionaire was being questioned in Belize on Friday in connection with the death of the high-ranking police official the night before, local outlets reported.
Jasmine Hartin, who is married to the son of Lord Michael Ashcroft, was reportedly socializing with Superintendent Henry Jemmott before he was found dead of a single gunshot wound to the head.
Authorities have not said whether they believe he was murdered, killed accidentally, or died by suicide. “We have to look at every possibility,” Police Chief Chester Williams said at a news conference, according to Belize’s Channel 5 news.
Hartin has not been charged with any crimes. She initially did not cooperate with investigators and retained the former attorney general of Belize as her lawyer, Williams said. The attorney had not made any public comment about the investigation as of Friday night.
Hartin is a U.S. national who lives in Belize with her husband, Andrew Ashcroft, the youngest son of Lord Ashcroft, a top donor to the U.K.’s Conservative Party who once served as Belize’s ambassador to the United Nations and has extensive business holdings in the country.
Hartin’s LinkedIn profile says she is the director of lifestyle and experience at the Alaia Belize resort, which had its grand opening just two weeks ago.
According to the police chief, Hartin and Jemmott were out drinking a pier in San Pedro at 12:30 a.m. on Friday morning—past COVID curfew—when a single gunshot rang out.
“Upon investigating, police found the female on a pier and she had what appeared to be blood on her arms and on her clothing,” Williams told reporters. “And inside the waters, right near the pier, police recovered the lifeless body of Mister Jemmott, with one apparent gunshot wound behind the right ear.”
He said the weapon used was Jemmott’s service gun, which was recovered at the scene. He was not on duty; officials said he had asked for time off to deal with some personal issues.
Marie Jemmott Tzul, the victim’s sister, told Belize’s Channel 7 news that she did not believe it could be suicide.
“I would say my brother would never kill himself. My brother had a passion for life, he look forward for his children, his five children and his fiancee and me and the other family members,” she said.
The chief said he was treating the investigation like any other case despite the immense wealth, political connections, and high profile of the Ashcrofts.
“Someone is responsible for his death. We owe it to him to ensure that we investigate properly and bring that person or those persons to justice,” Williams said of the victim.
“I can emphatically state that I have not received any calls from anybody above me directing that we deal with the matter in one way or the other.”