Police safeguarding the crime scene, the farmhouse in Monte Plata de La Cruz, Guanacaste, where five members of a family were massacred. Photo Guana Noticias Facebook page

The Organismo de Investigacion Judicial (OIJ) hypothesize the son-in-law of the massacred couple and their two sons on Friday in Monte Plata de La Cruz, Guanacaste, was the target of the attack.

That is the strongest hypotheses judicial investigators are working on, sources close to the case confirmed. Although the content has not been disclosed, the OIJ confirmed they found a note from the attackers near the five bodies, that had been lined up and shot in the forehead.

The OIJ is not making public the content of the note left behind by the attackers.

Investigators also learned that Carlos Alberto Pacheco, 26, the son-in-law, had a criminal history of illegal gun possession.

Apparently, Pacheco was linked to the murder of a person involved in drug trafficking. The only details given is that the crime would have occurred in Nicaragua some time ago. Apparently, the son-in-law committed the murder and then crossed back into Costa Rica.

From Facebook

The farmhouse where the five bodies were found is about one kilometer from the Nicaragua border, an area known for crossings by illegals and used by drug traffickers as a route to move illegal drugs.

Investigators believe six men committed the murders, killing Isais Bonilla, 81, his wife Paula Romero, their two sons, Wilber and Walter Jesus Bonilla Romero and Pacheco. Of the victims, only Pacheco had a criminal record.

The press office of the OIJ reinforced the hypothesis of Pacheco being the target because, in addition to being shot in the forehead, was the only one with his hands cuffed.

Wálter Espinoza, director of the OIJ, chose not to give details of the investigation or the additional details of the hypotheses to the motive. But what he did say is that, for now, links are being established with the Nicaraguan authorities to gather as much information as possible about the victim.

According to the Fiscalia (Public Prosecutor’s Office), Pacheco was arrested in La Cruz centro in April 2016 for carrying a rifle. The Fiscalia notes he was arrested on the weapons charge but had not used it to commit any aggression. The Fiscalia added that given the man accepted his guilt, he was given probation, avoiding a trial and possible jail. In addition, Pacheco had to present a remedial plan of damage, which consisted of donating ¢80,000 colones in favor of the school in Cuajiniquil.

The OIJ director said that, because of the location of the farmhouse and its distance from road access, the investigation becomes “very difficult”. On Saturday, crime scene investigators had to walk up to two hours through trails to reach the farmhouse. The bodies were removed on horseback, quadricycles and by hand by groups of police officials, back to the vehicles, for transfer to the Forensic lab.

Besides problems with access, finding witnesses is impossible. “It is necessary to take into account the natural complexity of a homicide in a rural area. Access is difficult, the possibility of finding witnesses is zero, there are no cameras, electronic surveillance is diluted. That is precisely why we have to take great care of the evidence we have,” Espinoza emphasized.

For now, said the director, there are three important pieces of evidence: the note left by the killers, the result of autopsies and the story of the peon (work hand) that found the bodies, “…whose testimony is important to the case…,” said Espinoza.

The OIJ director said that after a thorough inspection of the crime scene, they found no transcendental data, there were no footprints, no biological fluids, no determinant data for use in the investigation.

“The note does exist, it was seized and will be analyzed, but we will not give details about this,” said the OIJ chief.

Multiple murders on the rise in Costa Rica

According to the Michael Soto, head of the Office of Plans and Operations (OPO) of the Judicial Investigation Agency (OIJ), 84 multiple murders that have been recorded in the country since 2015 to date.

Soto explained there have been: 66 double homicides; Nine triple homicides; four quadruple homicides; four, quintuple homicides; and one homicide with six victims, recorded in Leo XIII (San Jose), when a neighbor caused a fire last November.

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