Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Nicaragua: US Woman, 37, on Church Mission Raped, Strangled to Death

According to The Latin American Tribune, a judge in Managua found Fernando Antonio Aburto Reyes guilty of the rape and murder of a US woman who traveled to Nicaragua on a church mission.

Karen Colclough, 37, went missing 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 mission.

The US woman was found dead a few days later near the resort in Montelimar, on Nicaragua’s Pacific coast.

Judge Henriette Casco decided Monday (July 7) to find Aburto guilty of murder, aggravated rape and aggravated robbery.

Prosecutors are seeking a cumulative sentence of 42 years, though the maximum term under Nicaraguan law is 30 years.

COMMENT: The judge will announce her sentence on Friday (July 11).

Casco found that Aburto strangled Colclough after stealing her camera on a beach next to the resort.

Ms. Colclough had left the church group to take photographs and wandered beyond the hotel’s security perimeter.

The tide had come in by the time Colclough headed back to the hotel and the path was obstructed. Aburto approached the American, ostensibly to help, but instead grabbed the woman’s camera, struck and sexually assaulted her before strangling the woman to death.

Police caught Aburto because he sold the stolen camera for a low price to a local resident, and also because of the scratch marks on his arms.

This report will be updated once the judge's sentence is rendered.