(QCOSTARICA) James Allen Honer and Bianca Mena Sibaja (30) had been living together for more than a year, before their charred bodies were discovered in a ‘charral’ in Sabana Larga, Atenas, some 600 meters from their home.
James, an American lawyer retired in Costa Rica and his young Costa Rican significant other from Escazu, lived in the posh residential known as Vista Atenas. They had a maid.
On May 3, the fire department received a call of a brush fire in an area near Calle Loma. While putting out the fire, they found one body and a short distance away, another, burned beyond recognition.
It wasn’t until May 10 that the Organismo de Investigacion Judicial (OIJ), released the details of the double murder, including their identity, early Sunday morning raid the house of victims and the arrest of four people.
Investigators believed the victims were killed elsewhere, their bodies dumped in the charral and set the fire deliberately to cover up their deed or at least slow down the process.
Brush fires are common during the dry season.
The Ministerio Publico (Prosecutor’s Office) on Monday confirmed the arrest of four people, including the maid, her son and two other friends.
Authorities presume that the suspects were with the bodies for at least three days and then set them on fire.
The defendants are a woman (the maid) with the surname Suárez Jiménez who worked in the home of the victims, her son, with the surname Salas Suárez, and two other men, accomplices, with the last names Reyes Villalobos and Esquivel Castro.
At first, it was believed the four were arrested in the residence in the home of the victims, however, the Ministerio Publico confirmed the four were detained on Saturday after being stopped by the Policia de Transito (Traffic Police), traveling in two cars, for violating the vehicular restrictions.
The Prosecutor’s Office already had information that linked the four to the double murder. The OIJ was called to the scene of the traffic stop, where, on inspection learned that one of the cars belonged to the victim, James Horner.
The next morning two raids were executed, at the house of the victims and that of the suspects, also in Atenas.
Among the evidence found by investigators was the American’s credit card.
The four detainees, suspected of murder, are under a six months preventive detention while the investigation continues.
Atenas is a very popular area for expats in Costa Rica.