San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Alleged kidnapping of U.S. woman reported on southern Caribbean coast

A 24-year-old woman from the U.S. was allegedly kidnapped early Sunday morning while walking the main road from Puerto Viejo to a hotel in Playa Chiquita, on Costa Rica’s southern Caribbean coast. The victim reappeared at the hotel the following afternoon.

A call to the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) in Bribrí confirmed a kidnapping was reported, and that the victim was safe. An administrator said a denuncia (official complaint) was being processed by the OIJ. No other information was made available.

When the kidnapping originally was reported, community members began circulating emails asking for help on the case. The suspects were said to be driving a four-door black car with blue lights. However, authorities and residents have expressed some doubts about the validity of the story.

According to residents close to the situation, the woman’s friends said a group of two men and two women were walking back from a bar in Puerto Viejo at about 2 a.m. Sunday to La Caracola hotel in Playa Chiquita, several kilometers southeast of Puerto Viejo. A vehicle pulled up to the two females in the group and abducted one. The other escaped the attackers. 

A couple of red flags have cast suspicion on the case. An official at the Puerto Viejo police station said on Monday the victim did not want to report anything about the incident. Later she talked to authorities, including OIJ members from the main office in San José. Residents, who wished to remain anonymous at this point in the investigation, said there have been inconsistencies in the stories. Still, they insisted they are taking the incident seriously and are “very concerned.”

This is a breaking story, and will be updated as it develops.

Contact Matt Levin at

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