QCOSTARICA – For a whole year, a stepfather kept locked his 12 year-old stepdaughter in the home to rape her.
In the beginning the man was the ideal stepfather, even taking her to school, where she was in the seventh grade.
But things soon changed. It was about April last year when he withdrew his wife’s daughter from high school, then preventing her from leaving the house, to keep her as a sex slave in their home, even taking payments from other perverts to have sex with her.
This all occurred in a dilapidated house in the centre of Los Chiles de Alajuela, in the northern area of the country.
On Tuesday, the area’s prosecutor’s office, along with officers of the Fuerza Publica (police) and the Organismo de Investigación Judicial (OIJ) arrested the suspect, a 32 year-old man surnamed Arauz.
In the raid of the couple’s home, police found two other children, age 4 and 5, that along with the 12-year-old, were immediately placed in the custody of the child welfare agency, the Patronato Nacional de la Infancia (PANI).
Authorities say the couple had been living together for a little over a year, the violations beginning almost immediately after the two moved in together.
Police were alerted by neighbours who hadn’t seen the girl (victim) outside the home for some time, not going to school.
Allegedly, Aruaz tied the girl to a chair to commit sexual assault. Authorities believe the mother received death threats and therefore kept silent.
Neighbours told police that on at least occasions, during the night, they heard gunfire from inside the house. Olegario Guadamuz, a local resident, told La Nacion the family kept to themselves, didn’t mix much with the community.
The mother, who is pregnant, told investigators that she was threatened with death by Arauz, a Nicaraguan, reported to work as a “coyote,” – smuggling undocumented persons across the border, when he worked at all.
She is refusing to bear witness to the situation. Randall Miranda, Los Chiles prosecutor, said she has refused to be interviewed, expressing fear of reprisals by her partner.
And rightly so. On Friday, Arauz was released from custody.
The press office of the Fiscalía (prosecutor’s office) in Los Chiles explained that both the girl and her mother declined to testify or file any complaint, which complicates the investigation.
Because of that, the criminal court judge Andrés Hidalgo ordered the release with the proviso that Arauz leave the area of Los Chiles, stay away from the victim and sign in every two weeks in a Fiscalía in Puntarenas.