PRESCOTT, AZ (3TV/CBS5) -- An Arizona family is desperately searching for answers after they say a 43-year-old mother of two disappeared while vacationing in Belize.
Relatives say that Alison Mackenzie hasn't been seen since Friday, Jan. 17. According to a flyer from Crime Stoppers Belize, MacKenzie was last spotted on a catamaran/camping trip with "Raggamuffin Tours," headed off to a small island called Rendezvous Caye. She is believed to have disappeared the next morning, on Saturday, Jan. 18.
Belize police say MacKenzie had been accompanied on the trip by her boyfriend. "Information is that they arrived on the island on Friday and were camped in tents," said Sr. Supt. Hilberto Romero with the National Crimes Investigations Branch (NCIB). "When he woke up, he could not find his girlfriend."
The trip was supposed to be a short adventure to an island paradise. The Raggamuffin Tours website describes it as a "'simple’ camping trip with Raggamuffin supplying all camping equipment with mats and sheets being provided. Passengers sleep in the units that they travel in... on average 2 persons to each tent or if they are traveling on their own, their own tent, to allow for privacy... The trip is designed as an island hopping adventure for all those want to experience this uninhabited Caribbean paradise. The adventure will take place over a period of three days."
Family members say they have been working with the Belize Police, the American Embassy, and the tour company owner. According to a Facebook post from MacKenzie's mother, "We have received 3 different stories about what happened that morning. None of them consistent with the others. We are getting nowhere finding out where she is."
The U.S. Department of State has released the following statement: "The welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad is one of the highest priorities of the Department of State. We are aware of reports of a U.S. citizen missing in Rendezvous Caye, Belize. Whenever a U.S. citizen is missing, we work closely with local authorities as they carry out their search efforts, and we share information with their family however we can. Due to privacy considerations, we have no further comment at this time."
Now, family members say they're trying to locate the other people who were on the catamaran tour boat with MacKenzie. Meantime, the daughters of the missing woman are said to be inconsolable. MacKenzie's mother posted on Facebook: "My whole family is beyond devastated; it just doesn’t seem real. Her 2 daughters are past being consoled. They have lost their mother and best friend. I want her home with us, no matter how she may be found. I want my daughter back."
Rendezvous Caye is a very small island, less than an acre in size, and located 21 miles east of Belize. "I'm not sure what security measure they have in place. But these are isolated islands," said Sr. Supt. Romero.
Raggamuffin Tours sent this statement to azfamily on Tuesday:
"On Friday, 17th January, 2020, an overnight catamaran tour operated by Ragamuffin Tours Limited left Caye Caulker for Rendezvous Caye with 15 passengers and the standard crew of 3 persons. One of the passengers on the tour, 43 year old Alison Mackenzie, who was accompanied by her 58 year old male companion, has been reported as missing since the early morning of January 19, 2020.
Ragamuffin Tours Limited is cooperating fully with law enforcement officers in their investigation into this incident. We have given the Belize Police Department comprehensive details of all passengers and met with our crew. We are aware that extensive interviews have been conducted by the Police at Rendezvous Caye and in Caye Caulker.
Ragamuffin Tours Limited is operated by a Caye Caulker family and as a family, we are deeply distressed and concerned as to the whereabouts and well being of Alison Mackenzie. We are in contact with and have offered our full cooperation to the family of Alison Mackenzie, and we assure them that we will continue do all in our power to assist law enforcement in their investigation into her disappearance. Raggamuffin Tours Limited continues to assist the authorities in the search for Allison McKenzie and we urge the public to contact the police as soon as possible, if they have any relevant information to provide."
Police continue to scour the small island off Belize for clues. Romero said MacKenzie's personal belongings were found on the island, and said nothing seemed to be missing.
"Investigators are on the island and searches are being conducted to find out what are the circumstances that led to her disappearance. At this time there's not much to go on and investigators are working on the case," said Romero.
Belize is a Caribbean country located on the northeastern coast of Central America. It has more than 450 offshore Cays (islands), excellent fishing, and safe waters for boating, scuba diving, snorkeling and diving. Belize has become is a popular destination for tropical vacations. However, Wikipedia states that "due to its location, it is currently becoming known in the global arena for attracting many drug trafficking entities in North America."