Thursday, April 17, 2014

Nicaragua: US Woman, 37, Murdered For Her Camera While on Church Mission

According to The Latin American Tribune, Fernando Antonio Aburto Reyes killed US citizen Karen Colclough, 37, in the course of a robbery, Glenda Zavala told a press conference.

Colclough, 37, went missing last Friday (April 11) from the beachfront resort where she and the other members of the group from the Presbyterian Church of Jackson Hole, WY, were spending a few days after completing their aid mission. 

Aburto Reyes was arrested on Wednesday (April 16). 

COMMENT: The second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Nicaragua is a developing nation that faces many economic and political challenges. Haiti is in first place as being the poorest in the Hemisphere. 

Nicaragua is rated “Critical” for crime and for residential security by the US State Department, which means that "Critical" threat is the HIGHEST level of threat on the Department's four-tier threat categorization system. 

Crimes against US citizens in the past year have ranged from petty theft to violent offenses, including armed robbery, home invasion, sexual assault, and express kidnappings. Very low rates of apprehension and conviction of criminals – due to limited police and judicial resources – contribute to Nicaragua’s high crime rate. Police coverage is sparse; they are often slow to respond. 

Ms. Colclough's body was found on Monday (April 14) near the resort in Montelimar, on Nicaragua’s Pacific coast.

Colclough left her church group to take photographs and wandered from the hotel's security perimeter, which rendered her vulnerable to victimization.

It is unknown as to whether Ms. Colclough resisted, but having worked thousands of armed robberies and assaults abroad, most unschooled foreign travelers almost invariably RESIST, which is the one thing that she should not have done.

As I have so often said, "No amount of property is worth your life. Tragically, the victim paid with her life for replaceable property. What a pity." 

Aburto Reyes approached the American, under the pretense of helping her, but alternatively grabbed the woman’s camera, struck her and strangled her to death. 

Aburto Reyes later sold Colclough’s camera to an area resident.

Church groups on missions abroad are particularly at risk in developing countries because they often view all people has having honorable intentions, which, of course, is not the case at all.

I strongly urge that all church groups retain the services of an experienced international security consultant for the purpose of providing such groups with written security policies and a candid, factual and mandatory security briefing for all hands.

Additionally, all participants of church missions must comply with the same protocols in order for all to return home after safely following a successful mission.