San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Crocodile attacks

Human head found in Costa Rica river likely belongs to Nicaraguan man attacked by crocodiles

A human head washed ashore on the banks of the Tárcoles River, near Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast, on Thursday morning and was recovered by agents from the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ). OIJ officials said it likely belonged to Omar de Jesús Jirón, a 32-year-old Nicaraguan man who was eaten by crocodiles after attempting to swim in the river on Tuesday.

Forensics specialists are now analyzing DNA to confirm the identity.

According to an OIJ incident report, Jirón and co-worker Victor Brénes were fired from their jobs as construction workers at the Parrita Hospital Tuesday afternoon. Jirón and Brénes then boarded a bus and began drinking alcohol. When the bus stopped near the Tárcoles bridge, both Jirón and Brénes exited the bus – or were removed by the bus driver – and Jirón reportedly told Brénes he wanted to go for a swim.

According to testimony from Brénes, Jirón headed to the riverbank and began removing his clothes, which were recovered from the scene. Despite warnings from Brénes, Jirón swam out into the water where he was quickly pursued by at least six crocodiles before he was attacked, dismembered and pulled under the water. Conflicting statements from other witnesses on the bridge say Jirón jumped from the bridge, which the Red Cross told The Tico Times in several previous statements.

Contact Lindsay Fendt at

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