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​Belize investigates killing of American tourist

An undated photo of Anne Swaney, who was found dead in Belize on January 15, 2016.

WBBM

BELIZE CITY, Belize -- Belizean authorities are investigating the suspicious death of an American tourist who was vacationing in the town of Benque Viejo del Carmen on the Belize-Guatemala border.

Police say 39-year-old Anne Swaney was a guest at the Nabitunich resort in the Cayo district when she was reported missing Thursday.

CBS affiliate WBBM reported Swaney worked as the executive producer of online operations for ABC 7 in Chicago.

Police Superintendent Daniel Arzu says that members of a tour group that Swaney should have been part of returned to the resort and couldn't find her.

Swaney's belongings were found on a deck by the riverside where she had gone to do yoga exercises.

Her body was located Friday morning, though Arzu did not say where. Injuries to her head and bruises around the neck have authorities treating the death as a homicide.

Police found Swaney's half-naked body face-down in the river, Arzu told WBBM. She had bruises on her neck, and lacerations on both sides of her head, indicating she might have been strangled.

"That led us to believe that she was murdered," he said. "We also suspect that she might have been sexually violated."

WBBM spoke with colleagues at the ABC station, where Swaney was being remembered as a newsroom leader with a passion for getting it right.

"Anne was one of those folks, she made everybody around her better. She made everybody around her smile. She was a fierce advocate for getting things right, and a fierce advocate for this news business," ABC 7 general manager John Idler said.

WBBM reporter Brad Edwards was one of the many friends Swaney had at the CBS station.

"Northwestern grad, smart superstar alum, talented, big title, but everyone loved her. She was just effervescent," Edwards described.

Arzu said police do not consider the area around the resort to be dangerous, and believe at this time it likely was a random crime.

"We have not had any records in that particular area that our locals may have involved in any sort of crime within that area. We consider that area to be a peaceful area," he said.

However, he did say the area is heavily trafficked by Guatemalans who enter the country illegally to sell illegal drugs or contraband.

"We will be looking at all leads, and we will be open in terms of our area of investigation, but as it is so far, we have no suspects," Arzu said.

Authorities were awaiting the results of an autopsy to determine the exact cause of Swaney's death.

WBBM reported there was a nationwide tourist advisory in Belize due to an increase in robbery, mugging, and rape in that country.