An investigation has been launched into the death of a Calgary man who died in Belize after he was found unresponsive in a jail cell, 660 News reports.
According to a statement from Belize's police department, Jeffrey Donald Furgala was under the influence of alcohol when he was detained on Saturday in San Ignacio. The statement says the 35-year-old was kept in custody for his own safety and was not able to provide his address.
He was found unconscious with blood in his nose on Sunday and taken to hospital. Furgala was scheduled to undergo surgery but died.
The Belize police department's website states that witnesses in other prison cells said they heard loud sounds, like that of someone falling, followed by loud snoring.
Friends told CTV Furgala, who was in Belize on a working holiday, was actively involved in Calgary's martial arts community and loved being a dad.
“He was extremely caring,” says Troy Aulenback, a friend of Furgala’s. “I know he has a little boy and he was amazing with him. Just all around, he was a great guy."
Terrence Ward, a friend of Furgala, has set up a memorial fund in his name. "Jeff was our brother, our friend, our comrade. We owe it to him in his memory to help those he loved the most in their hour of need," the indiegogo.com site reads.
Patrick Jones, a news producer in Belize, said there have been seven deaths of people while in police custody in Belize this past year, which is why there is some suspicion around this incident, CTV news reports.
Chrystian Roy, spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, said Canadian consulate officials are in Belize and have made contact with local authorities and are helping Furgala’s family.
The Belize police department has been launched a criminal and internal investigation.
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Mexico has long been a popular destination for Canadians who love warm weather and sandy beaches. Every year, approximately 1.5 million Canadians travel to the Spanish-speaking country. However, dozens of Canadians have been killed or injured while visiting Mexico in the last few years.
Dominic And Nancy Ianiero
Feb. 20, 2006: Woodbridge, Ont., couple <a href="http://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=dominic nancy ianiero&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCAQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ctv.ca%2FCTVNews%2FSpecials%2F20060310%2Ftimeline_ianiero_060310%2F&ei=58IdT9T-FIXogQfrs6y3Cg&usg=AFQjCNHMFxtsNZUAC2Ic7jSHl8ArFTgfXw" target="_hplink">Dominic and Nancy Ianiero </a>were found dead in a resort near Playa del Carmen. Both Dominic, 59, and Nancy, 55, were discovered with slashed throats. The couple was in Mexico to attend their daughter's wedding. (photo: CP PHOTO/Nathan Denette)
Jan. 8, 2007: The following year, another person from Woodbridge, Ont. was killed in Mexico. <a href="http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/CTVNewsAt11/20070111/mexico_folo_070111/" target="_hplink">Adam DePrisco</a>, 19, was the victim of a hit-and-run according to local police. But his relatives said the teen was beaten outside of a nightclub. (photo: AP Photo/Gonzalo Perez)
Jan. 17, 2007: Another Canadian was killed in Mexico less than two weeks after the death of DePrisco.<a href="http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/CTVNewsAt11/20070127/glasier_funeral_070127/" target="_hplink"> Clifford Glasier</a> from Chatham, Ont., was killed by a hit-and-run accident in Guadalajara, the capital of the Mexican state of Jalisco. He died of injuries sustained from the accident.
May 6, 2007: Mexican authorities said that Alberta native <a href="http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/TopStories/20070508/cancun_attack_070509/" target="_hplink">Jeff Toews</a> sustained his injuries after he fell from a balcony of the resort he was staying at. However, Toews family believed Jeff was beaten. The 34 year old was left clinically brain dead following the incident. (photo credit: CP)
Christopher James Morin
Nov. 27, 2007: Authorities claimed that <a href="http://www.canada.com/topics/news/national/story.html?id=045b054c-2344-4821-bffc-45b2d7795c9a&k=61315" target="_hplink">Christopher James Morin</a>, a 30 year old from Alberta, likely committed suicide in Cancun. But his girlfriend and family members said it was unlikely that Morin killed himself. He fell from a four-storey balcony and died from head trauma.
May 15, 2008: <a href="http://www.citytv.com/toronto/citynews/news/local/article/1830--another-canadian-tourist-killed-in-mexico" target="_hplink">Bouabal Bounthavorn</a>, a 29-year-old British Columbia resident, was shot three times in his Cabo San Lucas hotel by three men. Bounthavorn's girlfriend was also shot, but she survived the incident. Police believe the Vancouver-area resident was the victim of a botched robbery.
Sept. 19, 2009: The body of a Montreal woman was found in an apartment in Isle Mujeres, an island near Cancun. Police said <a href="http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/renee-wathelets-last-words/article1293616/" target="_hplink">Renee Wathelet</a> was stabbed more than a dozen times. (photo credit: CP)
June 9, 2010: <a href="http://www.cp24.com/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20100614/100614_mexico?hub=CP24Home" target="_hplink">Kenneth Klowak</a>, a 43-year-old man from Ontario, was travelling in Mexico, near the Texas-Mexico border, when gunmen reportedly intercepted Klowak and the group he was driving with. He was killed by the gunmen after the group refused to stop.
Giannina Di Roberto
Sept. 10, 2010: <a href="http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/Canada/20100912/mexico-fall-100912/" target="_hplink">Giannina Di Roberto</a>, a 19-year-old woman from Ontario, was travelling with her boyfriend in Cancun when she fell from the seventh floor of a hotel.
Oct. 30, 2010: <a href="http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/883701" target="_hplink">Daniel Dion</a>, an Ottawa-area man in his 50s, was found dead near Acapulco, inside the trunk of a rental car. He was on a business trip to sell purses made from recycled material and disappeared on Oct. 22. (photo credit: CP)
Explosion At The Grand Princess Riviera Hotel
Nov. 14, 2010: Just a few weeks before winter break, <a href="http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2011/01/24/f-mexico-grand-riviera-princess--hotel-explosion-background.html" target="_hplink">an explosion at a resort in Cancun</a> claimed the lives of five Canadians. Mexican officials suggested the explosion could have been caused by gas buildup from a nearby swamp. (photo credit: CP)
Joel St. Tierre
May 3, 2011: <a href="http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2011/05/12/canadian-killed-mexico.html" target="_hplink">Joel St. Tierre</a>, the owner of an air conditioning company, was shot in the head in Mexico City.
Leonard Francis Schell
May 30, 2011: <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/06/08/leonard-francis-schell-canadian-mexico-stabbed-to-death_n_873344.html" target="_hplink">A satellite TV installer was found dead at home</a> by his Mexican wife. According to a local report, Elba Ruiz Castro found a trail of blood leading to her house on her way back. She found Leonard Francis Schell's body inside their home. According to reports he was stabbed 25 times. (photo credit: CP)
Judith Zena Baylis
June 27, 2011: <a href="http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2011/07/02/canadian-killed-mexico-san-miguel.html" target="_hplink">Judith Zena Baylis</a>, a 64-year-old woman from Ottawa, was found dead inside her home in Atotonilco (a suburb of San Miguel). She was reportedly stabbed about 20 times.
Dec. 13, 2011: <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/01/06/ximena-osegueda-student-dead-mexico_n_1188255.html" target="_hplink">Ximena Osegueda</a>, a Canadian citizen who was born in Mexico, went missing in December. Osegueda's brother found her body in the bushes near a beach in Huatulco.
Jan. 3 2012: <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/01/03/robin-wood-salt-spring-island-bc-senior_n_1182322.html" target="_hplink">Robin Wood</a> from Salt Spring Island, B.C. was shot and killed after he confronted two robbers who were trying to break into his friend's house. The 67-year-old retiree was staying in Melaque, approximately 200 kilometres from Puerto Vallarta.
Salih Abdulaziz Sahbaz
Jan. 15, 2012: A Canadian citizen originally from Iraq was shot and killed in the city of Culiacan. According to reports, <a href="http://www.vancouversun.com/news/gang+cartel+contact+gunned+down+Mexico/6013177/story.html" target="_hplink">Salih Abdulaziz Sahbaz</a> was carrying both a current and an expired Canadian passport. There are media reports that Sahbaz was involved with the United Nations gang in the Vancouver area. (photo credit: CP)
Jan. 22, 2012: <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/01/23/sheila-nabb-of-calgary-mexico-beating_n_1224026.html" target="_hplink">Sheila Nabb</a> of Calgary was found beaten inside a luxury Mexican hotel. Nabb's uncle told QMI Agency that his niece was in a medically induced coma and that she had multiple broken bones. (photo credit: Facebook)