A Nicaraguan man was convicted on Monday of killing a 37-year-old U.S. missionary from Lynnfield, Mass., last April, the Nicaraguan daily La Prensa reported. Fernando Antonio Aburto Reyes, 35, murdered Karen Colclough during the course of an aggravated robbery and rape, a Nicaraguan court ruled.
Last April, Colclough went missing in Tierra Nueva, Nicaragua, where she had been a volunteer with the Presbyterian Church of Jackson Hole, Wyo., and Argos International, a nonprofit group working with rural families in Central America, The Tico Times previously reported. Argos International, which coordinated the trip, said Colclough had lost contact with the rest of her service team at Barcelo Montelimar, a beach resort near Montelimar, Nicaragua, where the group was staying after completing their work.
After check-in and debriefing on Friday, April 11, Colclough said she was going for a run on the beach, but did not return for dinner with the team. At about 6 p.m, concerned colleagues began a search, The Boston Globe reported. Colclough’s body was found on April 14 on Quisalá Beach in San Rafael del Sur, according to La Prensa.
Glenda Zavala, head of Nicaragua’s Judicial Police, told local reporters that Aburto strangled Colclough to death after stealing her camera. Police linked Aburto to the crime after he sold Colclough’s camera to a local resident for $27. Police said Aburto had scratch marks on his arms, indicating a struggle, according to the Nicaragua Dispatch.
Colclough had worked in Wyoming with developmentally disabled adults for the past decade. She also worked as a guide in Yellowstone National Park and at the Grand Teton National Park, as well as teaching adaptive skiing, which assists disabled skiers, at Snow King Resort, according to The Boston Globe.
The prosecution asked Judge Henryette Casco for the maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. The individual charges of rape, aggravated robbery and homicide would carry 12, 6 and 24 years, respectively. The judge will sentence Aburto on July 11.