(QCOSTARICA) In Upala, a nine year old girl took refuge in the mountain to escape the man who had already assaulted her and murdered her 11 year old brother.
The little girl was found alive by the Cruz Roja (Red Cross) and the Fuerza Pública (Police) yesterday, Wednesday, at about 10:25am, in Valle Bonito de San José de Upala (Alajuela).
She had several bruises and suffered from exposure.
Shortly thereafter, the lifeless body of her brother was found in the woods, covered with branches.
On suspicion of the murder and kidnapping, the Organismo de Investigación Judicial (OIJ) arrested a 19 year old man, a farm hand identified by his last name Umaña, a neighbour and acquaintance of the children’s family.
Authorities believe the man sexually assaulted his victims.
Both children disappeared Tuesday morning on their way to school, located about two kilometres from their home. Their initial search having no results, the family decided to file a report with the OIJ, who began a search and tracking operation that same afternoon.
Wednesday afternoon, the little girl, found hidden in the bushes, was able to give authorities information about her aggressor and where they could find her brother.
The young man was arrested by OIJ officials when he came back from the field, where he works with his father planting yams.
According to information by police, the two young children had left the house shortly after 7:00am with their older brother of 12 years of age. On their way to school, on the narrow gravel road, the eldest went ahead and arrived at the school safely.
Apparently, the aggressor was waiting for the children, snatching them half way to school, where he supposedly first beat them, then dipped the boy in the creek in front of his sister.
The little girl managed to flee and hide. Authorities believe she passed the night in the rain and cold of the outdoors.
At the Hospital Nacional de Niños (Children’s Hospital), doctors found the girl had been sexually assaulted.
Angela Morales, the mother of the suspect, said she was surprised at the arrest of her son, saying he has been raised on religious principles. The woman told authorities that she was having breakfast with her husband and son, when at 7:10m her husband and son went off to work at the plantation some 200 metres from the house, and at 11:30am, both returned for lunch and then went back to the field. Finally, according to the woman, both (father and son) came back to the house at 4:00pm and her son never left the house, showing investigators the dirty clothes used for work that day.
Local women said they are now concerned about their children walking to school.
Isaac Espinoza, uncle of the children victims, said that the suspect is known to the family.
Meanwhile, the mother of the children, Maribel Espinoza, said in few words of pain. “I expected both to have been found well”.