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Photo for illustration purposes only via Red Cross.

Costa Rica's judicial officers ask for help in U.S. citizen murder case

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Published on Tuesday, May 28, 2024
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Agents from the Judicial Investigation Organization (OIJ) are actively searching for suspects in the murder of a U.S. citizen identified as Hayes (77).

According to officials, the case began in April, when the Red Cross responded to an emergency call regarding a man who had been attacked and injured with a knife when he was at his home in Golfito Canton, Puntarenas Province.

Paramedics arrived at the scene and discovered Haynes had numerous knife cuts on his body. They administered first aid and life support techniques while transporting him to San Juan de Dios Public Hospital in San Josť.

Haynes was in the hospital's intensive care unit for more than a month. He was pronounced deceased at the hospital on Wednesday, May 22.

According to initial findings, the crime was motivated primarily by robbery and may have been a house invasion.

Agents are still conducting investigations to identify the culprits. They are asking the general public to come forward with any information that might help them locate the suspects.

People may provide such information to the confidential 10-digit hotline at 800-8000-645, or send anonymous tips to the official OIJ WhatsApp eight-digit number 88-00-06-45.


Haynes was a resident of Costa Rica for more than 35 years and founder of the Hayes Wildlife Refuge located near his home and the Golfito National Wildlife Refuge in Puntarenas.

The surrounding communities of Golfito and Puerto Jimenez rely on these refuges to safeguard the slopes and water, according to the wildlife refuge's website. That is why this refuge was established to protect the forest and native animals, to preserve the survival of species, populations, or wildlife habitats, and to serve scientific or recreational reasons.

The refuge preserves a diverse range of terrestrial and marine flora and wildlife found in southern Puntarenas' humid tropical woods, including ferns, palms, orchids, and tropical trees like the Vaco. The refuge is home to a diverse range of birds, including macaws, toucans, and hummingbirds, as well as animals such as coatis, monkeys, and peccaries, according to the wildlife place's website.

According to the U.S. Embassy, in situations resulting in the death of a U.S. citizen the Consular Section can assist depending upon whether a deceased U.S. citizen was accompanied by family and whether she/he was a visitor to Costa Rica or was residing here.

"The Consular Section can provide information on funeral homes that will arrange for local burials or prepare remains for shipment to a designated location in the United States," said the embassy in its statement. "The Consular Section will also issue a Consular Report of Death Abroad, which serves as a death certificate in the United States for probate and other legal purposes."

The Embassy does not provide funds to pay for the funeral, repatriation, or burial expenses of Americans who die abroad.

Also, families of the deceased do not necessarily have to travel to Costa Rica to make decisions and arrangements regarding the disposition of remains. "U.S. Embassy representatives can act on behalf of the family in working with local authorities and service providers in many cases," they added.

Individuals interested in more information about U.S. Embassy support in Costa Rica should contact them by calling 506-2519-2590 or 506-2519-2093. For after-hours or weekend emergencies phone line is available at (506) 2519-2000.

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