Security group discounts idea French pair drowned

Gerard and Claude Dubois

A community crime prevention group has concluded that a missing French couple probably did not drown in the Río Naranjo.

The group is the Dominical-based CAP on Crime, which stands for Crime Awareness and Prevention.

The French couple vanished March 31 under mysterious circumstances, and their rented vehicle was found pilfered and vandalized alongside the Río Naranjo south of Quepos. The couple had said they were on the way to Dominical.

Although the couple’s passports were found in a trash can in Jacó, the favorite theory of investigators was that they drowned in the Río Naranjo.

That is almost impossible, CAP on Crime said on its Web site. A summary said that members of the group visited the river site and found the depth to be no more than 50 centimeters. That is just short of 20 inches.

The missing couple are tourists, Gerard and Claude Dubois.

Many of the members of CAP on Crime are involved in the tourism business, so they are sensitive to the effects such cases have on potential visitors. The group said that it is seeking donations to support its offer of a 1 million-colon reward for information leading to locating the couple and arresting those who abducted them. The amount is about $2,000.

The group went public with its offer Monday night on local television stations. It said that the Judicial Investigating Organization was prepared to field calls that might come in in response to the reward offer. It said that investigators now are convinced the case is one of foul play.

CAP on Crime posted more information on the reward on its Web site. The group said that if no reward is paid in this case, the money will be kept for future cases.

Agents have been slow to react to this case. An early explanation advanced by some investigators was that the couple drowned in the river and then light-fingered passersby vandalized the car and took the passports and credit cards. A municipal worker found the passports in the trash can a few days later.

Agents report that credit cards belonging to the couple have been used since the disappearance. However, they have not said where. Most crooks can count on accomplices at various retail outlets to run credit card charges in exchange for cash. Reputable store clerks probably would not complete a credit card sale without adequate identification, and most Costa Rican crooks could not pass for Gerard and Claude Dubois from France.

A number of retail outlets also have security cameras. Still judicial investigators say they have few leads.

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