Police have launched homicide investigations into the deaths of a 52-year-old Canadian woman and a 36-year-old American man in Belize after a post-mortem examination revealed that both had died from strangulation.

Autopsies were performed on the couple Tuesday morning, Belize’s Corozal Police Department confirmed to CTV News.

Francesca Matus and Drew De Voursney were reported missing after they were last seen leaving a local bar in Corozal, Belize on April 25.

After nearly a week of searching, Matus’ white SUV was discovered on Sunday in a sugarcane field near the village of Paraiso, located approximately 15 kilometres away from the bar. Police say the couple’s bodies were found together a day later in an “advanced state of decomposition” by a search party in a sugarcane field in Chan Chen Village, in the country’s northern Corozal District.

Police say both Matus and De Voursney had tape around their wrists then they were found. They believe that murders are a case of a robbery gone wrong.

Matus leaves behind twin 22-year-old sons.

Jackie Logan, a friend of Matus’, told CTV Toronto that Matus owned a beachfront property in Belize

“She spent this past winter there and then she was due to come back and she didn't make it on the plane,” Logan said in an emotional interview with CTV Toronto. “She deserves so much better than this. She really does.”

On a rainy Tuesday, friends and neighbours stopped by Matus’ Keswick, Ont. home to lay flowers in front of the house. Many expressed shock and disbelief.

“This is just a horrible situation,” neighbour Tony Tallon told CTV Toronto. “Just horrible.”

Neighbour Ryah Lopizzo described Matus as “a good friend” and “a great neighbour.”

“It's just a complete shock that she had to go through this.”

With files from CTV Toronto and The Canadian Press