A sixty-nine year old U.S. citizen, originally from California, was identified yesterday as the victim of an abduction and murder in Roatan, Honduras, according to a Honduran newspaper El Heraldo.

The newspaper reports that the body of Philip Foster Brown was found in a ravine near a road leading from West End to West Bay in Roatan on Tuesday.  Mr. Brown, who had lived on the island of Roatan in a community on West Bay for several years, disappeared from his home several days ago, leaving a large pool of blood on the porch of his house.  His corpse was found yesterday wearing only shorts with a bag over his head.

Mr. Bown was one of three “foreigners” (i.e., not Honduran) in Roatan who died under mysterious circumstances according to the Honduran press.

Roatan is a popular port which is heavily marketed as a paradise getaway by Miami-based cruise lines like Carnival, NCL and Royal Caribbean.

We have written about cruise passengers and at least one crew member who have been victimized in violent armed robberies over the years in this idyllic yet dangerous destination, earning it a spot (#2) on my list of the ten most dangerous cruise port in the world several years ago.

As we wrote before, like many other Caribbean islands, the police in Roatan are either indifferent or corrupt. The legal system is somewhere between barbaric and non-existent.  Crimes against U.S. citizens are rarely solved or prosecuted.

Since 2010, Honduras has had one of the highest per capita murder rates in the world, ranging between 59 and 86 per 100,000 according to the U.S. Department of State.  Honduras is far more deadly than even the most violent U.S. cities.  Chicago, for example, has a per capita murder rate of 24 per 100,000. (The per capita homicide rate in the U.S. is a little over 4 per 100,000).

The U.S. State Department states that: “Roatan and the Bay Islands are geographically separated from and experience lower crime rates than on the mainland and other Caribbean islands; however, thefts, break-ins, assaults, rapes, and murders do occur.”

The State Department Crime and Safety Report also states that “Cruise ship passengers should take safety precautions, avoid unfamiliar areas, and book only with reputable tour companies during their stopover. Cruise lines and port agencies have approved tour companies offering packages. Port agencies have worked to improve taxi service to/from ports. The vast majority of cruise line passengers experience no problems, but incidents of armed robbery (like this one) and carjacking have been reported.”

November 23, 2018 Update: A resident of Roatan who does not feel comfortable revealing her name left this comment: ” I live on Roatan. Over the last ten days there has been three kidnappings/abductions (including Phil Brown) resulting in probable homicides. There are 4 additional murders, 2 shootings in Los Fuertes and 2 stabbing deaths. That’s 7 total. Unreported, downplayed and hushed up.  No increase in police or military as has happened in past crime waves. No actions from local or national govt. There has been lots of armed robberies often with victims threatened with guns of knives to throats. Please help get the word out to cruisers. Big companies should stop coming here now.”

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Photo credit: El Heraldo.

  • radicalrepublican

    Honduras is a sh! Thole. Oops, can’t say dat Donald.

  • Jason Craig

    I read the article and as soon as it said he lived there three years I thought why is this cruise news. Another article mentioned Bahamas. Been there several times. Never a problem.

  • Thomas

    And why is this Cruise news????

    • Lolo

      This article does not properly depict what Roatan stands for and who the people are. My condolences to the native Islander who was allegedly killed. Yes I said “native.” If you have not personally visited the beautiful island of Roatan or lived there for a period of time, then you have no knowledge to unfairly characterize Roatan. You will also know that the culture is very different then Honduras as a whole, so are the people. If it was up to the native people of the Bay Islands, they would have become independent from Honduras corruption and political schemes, but due the amount of tourist that visit every year and foreigners that infiltrate due to the low crime and beautiful bliss the island has become and has been a gem. Mr. Brown decided to reside in Roatan for a particulaf reason as well as many others do, and that’s because of the culture, his accesss to capitalize through real estate, the people, the beach and the worlds second barrier reef. If this Island is on your “dangerous destination, earning it a spot (#2) on my list of the ten most dangerous cruise port in the world” then you have it all wrong, because the Roatan you depicted is not the Roatan I have lived and loved.

  • Dottie Sorrels Spiares

    I visited Roatan in late August. Carnival advised passengers not to stray too far from Port. We took a tour of some of the bad parts but I never felt threatened. Had a great time there.

  • Fren

    So I lived there for a year and would go back there without thinking. Lovely island and mich lovelier people. Welcome you with open arms and always try their best to share their culture with you. First of all yes Honduras might be more dangerous than some American cities but all of those statistics refer to the mainland (which is beautiful as well by the way). You can not compare this small caribbean island to the mainland! And seeing people describe the not recommended areas as filthy is just wrong in my eyes. Yes it might be poorer than you’re used to but it is still beautiful. It is not the best idea to leave the recommended areas because you need a little geographical knowledge of the island to get to see the best places in those 6 hours your cruise will stop there, but don’t judge a place without knowing it.

  • Nedly Mandingo IV

    It was committed by someone within a powerful Argentinian family living in the area that has done other crimes. It was over a land dispute, which figures since Phil was also in real estate. There was a fist fight and then the guy came back and abducted him. The cops are being paid off and nothing will be done even though they know who killed Phil. You may like your island and have had fun being a tourist there, but the cops are corrupt if they are allowing people to murder others.

  • Nedly Mandingo IV

    Phil didn’t deserve this. He was a wonderful friend of the family. He has young grandchildren who will never know what a great guy he was. Karma is coming after the people responsible for harming him, I can guarantee that. He loved Roatan and he will be missed.

  • Mike

    I do not agree with all you listed in your article about Roatan, people like you that sit and write a whole load of Crap, you take food from peoples mouths without realizing you do so, YES, There is crime on Roatan, I agree with some of what you wrote, but, not the way you categorize it, get your facts in order, go there yourself and spend some time before publishing lies.

    My most sincere Condolences to his family and friends, may he RIP, I’m a native Islander of Roatán, it’s sad that a huge percentage of crimes go unsolved or unjust, unfortunately, two of the main factors of the above mentioned are, Ignorance and corruption, why don’t these family members involve Interpole and the FBI, have them try to help, local officials are limited as to what they can do because of the Honduran corrupt military and police force. 🙏🙏🙏

  • tom

    You know that some one was killed wiether a american or what ever this was brutal and every one stands down because they dont wanna know why it happen and are scared to say ,,Wake up

  • Pedro

    there is some serious bee es in this article. first of all the murder rate last year in all of honduras was 60 per 100,000, and was much less in roatan. the murder rate in st. louis was 59 and baltimore 55. therefore roatan is much safer than st louis and baltimore. there is no published murder rate for roatan, but i would be willing to bet there are dozens of US cities that are much worse.