San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Crime

Police arrest suspected killers of Gerardo Cruz

Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) arrested six people Tuesday morning allegedly responsible for the killing of Gerardo Cruz, a young man stabbed days after publicly shaming a video voyeur on Facebook. Police said one of the suspects, a woman, had recently ended a romantic relationship with Cruz at the time of the attack against him.

OIJ Director Walter Espinoza told reporters the eight-month investigation determined that Cruz’s death was a crime of passion and not related to the now famous Facebook video, in which Cruz filmed a man walking through downtown San José with his cell phone camera apparently pointed up a woman’s skirt.

“There is absolutely no relation between the man caught on the video and the killing of Gerardo Cruz,” Espinoza said.

The alleged former lover and her daughter were the crime’s masterminds, investigators said. The mother, last name Fonseca, 41, was romantically involved with Cruz, investigators said, but the relationship ended badly. The breakup prompted the woman and her daughter, last name Valerín, 19, to plot the attack on Cruz, according to Espinoza.

The women allegedly contacted three of the men arrested Tuesday who acted as middlemen to hire the two men suspected of stabbing Cruz in October 2015.

Tuesday’s arrests came two weeks after OIJ released a video compiled from recordings of various surveillance cameras showing Cruz’s alleged killers.

A 22-year-old detainee with the last name Ledezma is believed to be one of the killers. A sixth man voluntarily surrendered soon after the raids and OIJ’s Espinoza said police are still on the lookout for another suspect.

“The suspects attacked Mr. Gerardo Cruz at Parque Kennedy on October 7 and took some of his clothes and other belongings as proof of the crime for the women,” Espinoza said at a news conference Tuesday.

Cruz’s video of the man filming a woman’s behind while walking went viral last year. He was stabbed on October 7, shortly after leaving his job in San Sebastián, a suburb south of downtown San José. Cruz spent over a month at Calderón Guardia Hospital, where he underwent three open-heart surgeries and died of a heart attack on November 19, 2015.

The violent attack on Cruz triggered a national debate on the sexual harassment of women in public in Costa Rica, including marches and calls to penalize street harassment.

Contact L. Arias at larias@ticotimes.net

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