A Virginia cardiologist who was on vacation in Belize with his family was shot and killed alongside his tour guide, according to authorities.
53-year-old Gary Swank, a cardiologist at Virginia’s Carlilion Clinic, was fly fishing in Belize when his body was found floating face down in a lagoon in San Pedro, Belize, on Sunday, according to WFTV. His guide, 53-year-old Marion Nestle Graniel, was also discovered dead.
Police are currently investigating the deaths, reported The San Pedro Sun. The US Department of State has Belize listed with a level 2 travel advisory due to instances of violent crime, including sexual assault, home invasions, armed robberies, and murder. The travel advisory notes that “a significant portion of violent crime is gang-related.”
Swank was a cardiologist with the Carilion Clinic in Virginia, and he also taught at Virginia Tech’s medical school, according to the hospital.
“Today we learned the tragic news that Dr. Gary Swank, 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 in Belize, along with a local tour guide,” the hospital said in a statement. “The entire Carilion family extends our heartfelt thoughts and support to his beloved family.”
His brother, Martin Swank, told The Roanoke Times that his brother was passionate about fly fishing. “My brother was just in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Swank added.
People across the Roanoke community expressed their grief over Swank’s death.
“He saved my life and everytime I went to his office he was a very knowledgeable, patient and caring person,” Teresa Hodges, who had been Swank’s patient for 13 years, told WSLS. “He’s part of my life.”