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Former cop charged in murder of Canadian photographer

Saturday, October 8, 2016 21:50
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Posted by DD Borderland Beat
A suspect in the murder of Canadian photographer, Barbara McClatchie, was ordered by a Court in Yucatan yesterday to remain in custody while the investigation continues into her death. 
Mcclatchie’s body was found beside the highway linking Merida and Cancun, less than 4 kilometers from Merida where she resided.  

McClatchie flew from Vancouver to Mexico on Thursday Sept. 29, just one day before she was discovered at the side of the road.  She was returning from a trip to her former home in Vancouver where she had visited with friends and family.  
Owner, Deanna Geisheimer, of the Art Works Gallery in downtown Vancouver where some of McClatchie’s work is exhibited told Huffington Post that her friend Barbara had flown from Vancouver to Mexico on Thursday, just one day before she was discovered at the side of the road.

“She flew down Thursday and called her housekeeper that she was on her way and never arrived.”

Her body was found the next day, Friday Sept. 30,  by a farmer traveling down the highway.  

Juan Carlos López Martínez, an ex-state police officer, was arrested Sunday, Oct. 2, and faces a charge of aggravated homicide.  .López Martínez was working for the ADO bus line in Cancún September 29 when McClatchie arranged to have him drive her to her home in Mérida.
Yesterday’s hearing in Yucatán.
Mexico News Daily that at the hearing yesterday, Oct.7, the judge found there was sufficient evidence to support the arrest warrant and charges against Lopez Martinez.  At the hearing his attorney argued that the search of his client’s home was illegal.  It is believed that  that the search yielded a camera belonging to McClatchie and her identification.  From the appearance of the body the police believe she was beaten around the face and body and strangled to death with the strap of her camera.

Canadian News Video on next page

Barbara McClatchie Andrews, a one-time photojournalist who had turned to abstract photography in recent years.  Her friend, Kit Grauer of Tsawwassen said McClatchie Andrews was a seasoned traveller who loved life. She spoke three languages, including Spanish, and was a longtime photographer for National Geographic.

”She travelled all over the world,” said Grauer. “She is not someone who would do anything stupid.”

A former teacher at South Delta Secondary, McClatchie Andrews had moved to Mexico in 2005, where she restored a house and set up a non-profit art gallery in Merida, the capital of Yucatan state.

 “She was a wonderfully creative photographer who lived life to the fullest,” said Grauer.

At Art Works Gallery in downtown Vancouver, one of McClatchie Andrews’s abstract pictures is for sale for $2,800.   Geisheimer said that besides being a prolific artist, McClatchie Andrews also helped new artists in Mexico get established.

Even well into retirement age, Geisheimer said McClatchie Andrews was passionate in promoting new artists from Mexico.   Geisheiner said McClatchie Andrews had a special way of looking at the world, able to see beauty in the mundane.

‘Fell in love’ with community in Merida

McClatchie Andrews, 74, who lived in Merida  was the director of the Galeria Inlakech,  a non-profit gallery which she founded showcasing new artists.

“Her non-profit gallery was set up to encourage new artists,” she said. “She had really connected with the artistic and design community down there.”

“It is so tragic,” she said, “She was a lovely person. She was ageless in attitude, incredibly gifted and kind beyond measure, and had the most wonderful sense of humor.”

The Daily Mail reported that the respected photographer loved Mexico and was a fierce defender of the country which is still gripped by a drugs war.

She would ‘rail against the media’ when it highlighted the dangers of the country, despite the fact that dozens of journalists have been murdered in Mexico in recent years.

Vancouver artist Rodney Clark, who had seen McClatchie Andrews recently, said that she seemed much younger that her years, and was still a vibrant and outgoing individual.

‘She was ageless in attitude, incredibly gifted, wickedly intelligent, kind beyond measure and had the most wonderful sense of humor. We could talk for hours at a time. I feel so blessed to have seen her such a short time ago. A great loss’.  

McClatchie Andrews, who was trilingual, had studied English and French literature at the University of British Columbia, and went on to pursue post-graduate studies at Montreal’s Concordia University and the University of Arizona.

She was also a former teacher at South Delta Secondary in British Colombia, Canada. According to the photographer’s website, she had homes in both Vancouver and Merida.

Locals from the small town of Merida, which has typically avoided some of the worst of Mexico’s violence, were shocked by the news.   Ironically the Best place to live in Mexico, for the second year in a row, is Mérida, capital city of the state of Yucatán, according to the 10th annual most-livable-cities survey by the polling firm Gabinete de Comunicación Estratégica (GCE).

Her friend, Kit Grauer of Tsawwassen said McClatchie Andrews’s son, Julian Andrews, and brother, Sam McClatchie, who both live in the U.S., only found out about her death through Facebook and a newspaper reporter.

Friends and family of McClatchie gathered Wednesday at her Mérida gallery where her brother, Samuel McClatchie, said his sister lost her life for $500. When someone attempted to rob her, he said, she fought to keep her belongings.

He lamented that she had forgotten the rules of a traveler: don’t travel alone if you’re a senior, don’t travel at night, avoid remote routes and if you’re attacked don’t fight back.

Artist friend Martine Janser wrote, partially in Spanish, on Facebook: ‘Barbara McClatchie Andrews, I certainly enjoyed your company….Will miss you. Rest in peace, dear friend.’ 




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