Dixon family plans to meet top British official today

The Dixon family is back in town in their so-far futile pursuit of information on their missing son and brother.

Michael Dixon

The family is scheduled to meet with Jeremy Browne today. He is the British minster of State who happens to be visiting Costa Rica. They have been unsuccessful in their efforts to get Costa Rican investigators to issue a formal request for help from the British police, something international diplomacy requires. They hope Browne can apply some pressure while he is visiting here with local
politicians. They have appealed to him previously.

The son and brother is Michael Dixon. He was the tourist who checking into a Tamarindo hotel in October 2009 and vanished. The famous north Pacific beach is about an hour west of Liberia in Guanacaste.

The Dixon family is long past trying to bring someone to justice if a crime were committed. The mother, Lynn Dixon, said Thursday that the family just wants to know what happened.

“How can we push anymore,” she asked.

The case is perplexing, and one of a handful involving missing tourists and Costa Ricans.

David Dixon also is frustrated, and quickly dismisses a number of theories that have been floated in the case. He also believes that Costa Rican investigators can do more. He said in an interview at a Los Yoses hotel that a new director of the Judicial Investigating Organization in the regional center of Santa Cruz knows little about the case. He has gone as far as the No. 2 man in the investigating organization without getting the answers or actions he wants.

Investigators quickly said in October 2009 that Michael Dixon vanished in the sea while going for a swim. They based this theory on statements from a maid who said she saw someone with a blue beach towel leave the hotel early Oct. 19, 2009. In subsequent questioning, David Dixon said the woman was more uncertain. In addition, a wallet and a raincoat found in his brother’s room suggest that the brother went elsewhere the night he arrived in Tamarindo and then returned to his room. Witness testimony says he was seen in a local bar.

The Dixon family: David, father Hubert and wife Lynn. A.M. Costa Rica photo

The frustration is obvious when he talks about how investigators handled the case. Prints were not lifted from a bottle of water and a bottle of soda found in the room. In fact, the bottles probably had been discarded. Although Michael Dixon is believed to have vanished the night of Oct. 18-19, the family did not find out until a receptionist at Villa Macondo sent an email to the missing man’s account asking about his well being. That message was not discovered until Oct. 26, the day Michael was supposed to report back to work as a journalist in Brussels, Belgium. Basically agents did not treat the room as a possible crime scene.

David Dixon doubts that his brother ever went swimming. He said no one at the hotel remembers giving Michael Dixon a distinctive blue hotel beach towel.

David Dixon has been in Costa Rica four times, once for a month. He said he and friends have developed significant leads that local police are not interested in pursuing. “And we are not even professional investigators,” he said.

The family is seeking closure. They expressed interest in the discovery of bones on a beach further down the coast Wednesday, but the judicial police said they are not even sure if the bones are human. The bones were exposed by the heavy rains, agents said. The family will not find out more information while they are here. The parents leave later today.

David Dixon leaves Saturday. The bones are awaiting tests at the forensic medical lab.

David Dixon also is frustrated because no police investigator here ever sought an easily obtainable DNA sample from the family for use if a body is found. In the family’s view, the case has been filed away in the minds of investigators.

On his visit here, David Dixon has been in contact with Gabriel Orozco, the husband of Kim Paris. She was seen last peddling away from the Hotel Latitude 10 Resort where she worked on the Nicoya Peninsula. That was in August 2010. Her family has put up a Web page and expressed frustration with the lack of development in the case.

There was a resolution of sorts in the case of missing Australian student Brendan Dobbins. He vanished in Tamarindo, too, shortly after walking away from friends on the beach. That was March 4, 2005.

Dobbins, then 24 and a senior at the University of Florida, traveled to Costa Rica with several of his classmates over spring break. The man’s parents and the Australian diplomatic service instigated a massive search that failed to find clues.

In mid-June of the same year the bones of an adult male were found in mangroves near the beach. DNA tests confirmed the identity.

Like Michael Dixon, Dobbins, too, was thought to be carrying little money and no passport. Tamarindo is about 35 miles from Liberia. That’s about 56 kilometers, but the drive takes about an hour because of road conditions.

Illinois resident David Gimelfarb, 28, vanished Aug. 11, 2009,  after he went hiking alone in Parque Nacional Rincón de la Vieja north and east of Liberia. There was an extensive search and a local private investigator was called in.

A resident reported seeing a man who may have been Gimelfarb living off the land, but a search that included dogs never turned up more than matted grass. Gimelfarb was a doctoral student at the Adler School of Professional Psychology.

The national park where the man vanished is about 25 kilometers from Liberia, the provincial capital. That’s about 16 miles.

Gimelfarb’s parents have posted a reward, but there have been no takers.

David Dixon also cites the disappearance of Barbara Struncova, a Czech citizen who vanished in Playa Langosta near Tamarindo Dec. 5, 2010. Her friends also have posted a Web page.

There also are two young Costa Rican men who vanished in separate incidents while hiking in national parks.

David Dixon has been aggressive in generating news coverage and keeping his brother’s case in the public eye. He works in information technology. His father, Hubert, is retired as a statistician for the World Health Organization. He and his wife live near Geneva, Switzerland. David Dixon lives in England. His efforts have required sacrifice, he admitted Thursday.

There is more information on the family’s Web page. 

This entry was posted in Costa Rica News. Bookmark the permalink.