Thursday 29 September 2022

Missing American Found Lifeless In Shallow Grave, Hands and Feet Tied

Thomas Cook, missing since August, was found murdered in Siquirres

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29 September 2022 - At The Banks - BCCR

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Thomas Jeffrey Cook, 62, reported missing since August 23, in Jaco, was on Tuesday found dead, in a 1.5 meter (5 foot) deep grave in the Palmiras de Siquirres, Limon.

The American was wrapped in a blanket, wearing shorts and a shirt. The man was bound hand and foot.

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Cook was identified by his tattoo his back. Investigators say he had been dead between 2 and 4 weeks, the autopsy revealing he was murdered, but due to the condition of the body and the time elapsed, the form of death has not yet been determined.

Walter Espinoza, director of the Organismo de Investigación Judicial (OIJ), pointed out that the man did not have gunshot wounds.

He was last seen in a bank where he withdrew an amount of cash he could not have gotten at an ATM, that depending on the bank and card used, have limits on withdrawal amounts and the number of withdrawals per pay.

Apparently, the man was going to pay a pending debt, learned investigators from the woman, Yaritza Hurtado, 23, with whom he apparently had a good relationship with.

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In an interview with Telenoticias television news, she said, “I told him (to be careful),  but I had very little opportunity to really talk to him, because he spoke only English. I met him a time ago. Earlier this year he contacted me to tell me that he would come to live in the country and asked me to help him get a place. Me, for being good people I agreed to sign for him the rental in Jacó, but he paid everything and I did not live with him”.

“What has bothered me is that a friend of Tom has accused me of causing the disappearance when that is false because for days before he was last seen, I was staying in a hotel,” she added.

According to the OIJ the young woman and Cook’s relatives went to the OIJ to file a report of his disappearance.

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Besides the tattoo, the OIJ was able to further identify the body through dental records sent from the United States.

Immigration authorities confirmed that Cook visited Costa Rica in January of this year and had stayed for 3 months.

Cook fell in love with Costa Rica and returned to with the intention to live in the country, setting up a business in Jaco.

Sex &  Drugs

According to the statement that Yaritza gave to the authorities, she occasionally met with the Cook, sometimes even asking her to find him women to take back to his place.

Cook paid ¢375,000 in cash per month for a small place a the Residencias Málaga, in Jaco, though he presumably thought about acquiring a property in that same place, he did not have any vehicles and usually, he moved in informal cabs, something that the young woman constantly reproached him for.

“Once he called me to tell me he was coming from San Jose, he kept me waiting for him for several hours, and I saw him arrive in a pirate from San Jose; that is, he paid the service from the capital to here and that is not done. I worried a lot for him,” she said.

According to Yaritza’s testimony, Cook went out every night, drinking and apparently using drugs with a group of American friends that he saw every day.

Until now the authorities are not clear about what happened, the only evidence they have in relation to the facts is an internal security video of the residence in which two vehicles can be seen entering and moving to the house of the foreigner.

His family, through social networks, have called on all the those who know Cook so they can communicate with them for more information.

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