A convicted child molester from Kansas spent more than six years in Costa Rica before his Monday apprehension, becoming the president of two corporations.
Kirk Owen, 56, came to Costa Rica in November 2006, two months after an Oklahoma judge ruled he had completed his probation for a 2002 child molestation conviction. He then spent nearly every day in Costa Rica, according to his visa record with Costa Rica’s Immigration Administration.
That record also shows multiple violations of Costa Rica’s tourist visa rules. Tourist visas are valid for a 90-day maximum in Costa Rica. The government then requires individuals to leave the country for a minimum of three days before getting a new visa.
Owen stayed in the country from February 2007 to February 2011 without leaving, according to his records. Owen has other violations, such as leaving in 2013 several times, when the 90-day period was approaching, but failing to stay out of Costa Rica for three days.
Costa Rica apprehended and detained Owen on Monday, with immigration officials saying they plan to revoke his visa and deport him. Interpol had sent out a preventative alert on Owen, noting his two previous convictions in the U.S. for child molestation.
In April, Costa Rica launched an immigration system designed to prevent foreigners with sexual offenses from entering the country. The system became operational on April 29, and it is designed to coordinate information with Interpol.
Immigration Administration Director Freddy Montero said last week the new monitoring system has led to the rejection of 14 people, “most of them U.S. citizens who were immediately returned to their country of origin.”
However, one day after the new system began working, Owen re-entered the country. A crhoy.com report said Owen entered through Pasos Canoas, at the Panamá border.
Owen’s apprehension came four days after Costa Rica officially announced the new tracking system.
Immigration authorities did not respond to inquiries about the timing of Owen’s apprehension at press time, nor whether his previous visa record constituted an official violation.
Costa Rica’s National Registry also shows Owen started two corporations based in Jacó, where he was living. Owen’s filings with the Registry report that the corporations were consultation firms on development, commerce, agriculture and industry. However, the two corporations — Tu Vlad Corporation and M P Knapp Corporation — do not appear in Internet searches.
Federico Chacón, a lawyer at Bufete Pacific Law in Jacó, on the central Pacific coast, is listed as the attorney for the Tu Vlad Corporation. Chacón said he never met Owen but agreed to do attorney work for the creation of the corporation. Chacón said he did not know if Tu Vlad did real business, but that he often advises clients to create corporations for favorable tax and inheritance purposes.
“That’s why, Tico or not, I advise everybody to get a corporation,” Chacón said in a phone interview.
The Tu Vlad Corporation reported buying a Porsche Cayenne for $33,000, according to Registry records. The M P Knapp Corporation reported buying a property for $21,000 in Jacó, on the central Pacific coast.
Mary Owen, Kirk Owen’s mother who lives in Florida, would not say much about her son’s activities in Costa Rica.
“He’s spending his life,” Mary Owen said in a phone interview with The Tico Times. “What else does one do with their life?”
In the Garabito district of Jacó, Owen also faces a charge of making threats with a firearm, according to a crhoy.com report. Possession of a firearm is a violation of a tourist visa.
The U.S. Embassy reported discussing Owen with Costa Rican authorities.
“U.S. Embassy officials were aware of Mr. Owen’s presence in Costa Rica, and discussed the case with contacts at the Immigration Office,” Embassy spokesman Eric Turner said in a statement. “The government of Costa Rica subsequently made a determination that Mr. Owen was violating the terms of his tourist visa and apparently detained him for that reason.”