Eight suspects were arrested during early-morning raids Wednesday in the murder of Costa Rican sea turtle conservationist Jairo Mora, reports the TicoTimes.net.
The arrests came two months to the day of Mora’s slaying, which occurred on Moín Beach on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, while the conservationist and a group of volunteers were patrolling the area for nesting sea turtles. Mora was beaten to death, while the volunteers were kidnapped, but later escaped and alerted authorities.
Costa Rican police say the suspects are part of a criminal gang that has attacked locals and tourists around Limón province. They cited a May 18 attack, where a tourist couple was kidnapped and beaten. The woman was raped.
According to authorities, evidence recovered during the raids on several homes in Moín, Limón and Guapiles, includes cell phones belonging to two of the sea turtle volunteers.
TicoTimes.net has more details about the circumstances of the arrests and a possible motive for the slaying.
Leatherback hatchling in the foreground with Sandoval in the background. (right) Sandoval walking on the beach where he died after releasing over a hundred turtle hatchlings in 2012. Photos by: Carlyn Samuel.
(06/28/2013) Marine conservation group Sea Shepherd will name its newest vessel after Jairo Mora Sandoval, a sea turtle conservationist who was slain on a Costa Rican beach last month.
Costa Rican environmentalist pays ultimate price for his dedication to sea turtles
(06/10/2013) On the evening of May 30th, 26-year-old Jairo Mora Sandoval was murdered on Moin beach near Limón, Costa Rica, the very stretch of sand where he courageously monitored sea turtle nests for years even as risks from poachers rose, including threats at gunpoint. A dedicated conservationist, Sandoval was kidnapped along with four women volunteers (three Americans and one from Spain) while driving along the beach looking for nesting sea turtles. Sandoval was separated from the women—who eventually escaped their captors—but the young Costa Rican was stripped naked, bound, and viciously beaten. Police found him the next day, face-down and handcuffed in the sand; Sandoval died of asphyxiation.