San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Expat, Wife Ambushed Returning From Laguna

After 16 years in Costa Rica, Howard Cox had enough of the rising crime and moved to Nicaragua to start anew.

“Now I feel like I’m seeing an old movie again,” he says of the growing violence in his second adoptive country.

On Sept. 18, around 3:30 p.m., Cox and his Nicaraguan wife, Jessenia, hopped on their motorcycle to head back to Granada after lunch at the Norome Resort at Laguna de Apoyo. Rounding a bend in the road, they were confronted by four men. Two had knives while another swung a plank of wood at their heads. Cox instinctually ducked but the plant hit Jessenia, cracking her helmet and sending the two skidding off the road.

Still dizzy from the fall, Cox said he barely noticed the two men taking his watch and wallet, but his mind sharpened when he heard his wife screaming.

“One had their hands around her legs, the other around her throat,” the U.S. expat recounts.

The assailants, one masked, were trying to drag her into the woods that line the road, but she was struggling hard. By then Cox, 71, was standing and had grabbed a rock. He started yelling, “Leave my wife alone!”

The two criminals released Jessenia and ran off with her purse.

Five days later, an angry Cox and his wife are putting their emotions into a flyer that they plan to “blanket” Granada with to warn others about the road, which has allegedly been the scene of previous incidents.

The couple has no intentions of filing a police report with Masaya’s police, he said. “What’s the point? No crimes get solved here,” Cox said.

“The victim has to take justice into their hands,” Jessenia adds, vowing if there’s a next time, the crooks “won’t find it so easy.”

–Nicole Rogers


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