Suspected Costa Rica serial killer tied by DNA to 3 victims, say prosecutors

January 4, 2016
1 Comments

When the bodies of nine women turned up in San José over a six-month span in 2015, police warned of an at-large serial killer preying on prostitutes in the slums of Costa Rica’s capital. Now authorities say they have scientific evidence to prove that they’ve captured the man responsible for at least three of those homicides.

A 39-year-old suspect identified by the last names Arroyo Gutiérrez is in preventive prison after being charged on Dec. 16 with the deaths of three women, a spokeswoman from the Prosecutor’s Office told The Tico Times. The suspect initially was sentenced to three months of preventive detention for rape in September before officials positively matched his DNA with that from hair and fluid samples found on the bodies, the spokeswoman said.

Prosecutors from a special investigative unit of the judicial branch known in Spanish as Unidad Operativa de Dirección Funcional, created in 2012 to handle high-profile cases in the San José area, are attributing the three killings to Arroyo Gutiérrez.

Several victims unidentified

The last body that Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) linked to the suspected serial killer was found on Sept. 7, 2015 in Barrio Mexico, just north of downtown San José. The killings began in April when the body of 29-year-old mother Natalia Felicia Salazar was found in an abandoned lot near the slums of San Sebastián, in the southwest area of the city. Salazar had been in and out of local drug rehab clinics before she was killed. Several people who knew her told The Tico Times that she was a few months pregnant at the time of her death.

Several victims have yet to be identified, and in August, OIJ Assistant Director Luis Ángel Ávila told The Tico Times that by the time they were discovered, most of the victims’ bodies were too decomposed for investigators to extract evidence.

Arroyo Gutiérrez will remain in preventive prison at least until June 16 while the case remains under investigation.

You may be interested

Marchers support traditional family structures
protests
26 views
protests
26 views

Marchers support traditional family structures

AFP and The Tico Times - July 16, 2018

"The family is the base for happiness." "A family in which the parents become completely one in love, is a…

Solving Costa Rica’s traffic and pollution problem
Op-Ed
55 views
Op-Ed
55 views

Solving Costa Rica’s traffic and pollution problem

Daphne Blanchard - July 16, 2018

The explosive growth of its gasoline-dependent transportation sector has caused an embarrassing stain on Costa Rica’s green reputation. While it…

5 questions for a Venezuelan artist in Costa Rica
Weekend Arts Spotlight
185 views
Weekend Arts Spotlight
185 views

5 questions for a Venezuelan artist in Costa Rica

Elizabeth Lang - July 15, 2018

Art as a passion and a tool for the communication of complex messages of hope, all influenced by the sociopolitical…