Jealousy cited as motive in Playa Hermosa murder

When they learned of the killing, residents flocked to the storefront to present floral tributes. Reader photo

Investigators say that a love triangle, whether real or imagined, is at the center of the motive for the murder of an Argentine business woman in Playa Hermosa near Jacó Sept. 18.

Judicial police detained a Belgian mechanic Monday in the central Pacific and said he was the intellectual author of the crime. A statement from the Judicial Investigation Organization said that he was one of the persons involved in the murder, suggesting that there may be other arrests.

The dead woman was Alejandra Erpen, 38, who ran a gift shop in the beach community. She was gunned down as she was about to enter her home. Her sister suffered a bullet wound. The assailant fired from the shadows, agents said at the time. The woman lived in the beach community for six years, friends said.

The murder shocked the close-knit seaside town, and some residents expressed fear and concern because they knew the victim, her sister and those investigators considered suspects.

The mechanic is Michel Cryson, said the Poder Judicial. The agency said that the man was detained near his home in Quebrada Seca de Garabito around midday. In the same place the man maintains a mechanics shop adjacent to the home, and agents searched that, too.

The Poder Judicial said that he faced a murder allegation in the case of the dead woman and a second allegation for the injury done to her sister, But there are other charges.

According to the Poder Judicial, the man believed that Ms. Erpen had become involved in a romantic relationship with his former girlfriend, identified by the last name of Splendido. To support his suspicions, the man taped conversations and made threats to Ms. Erpen, said the Poder Judicial.

That is why there are additional allegations of obtaining private communications and violation of the law prohibiting violence against women.

The Ministerio Público said that agents have at least eight witnesses on which they based their allegations. Based on these testimonies, agents obtained an arrest order Friday, said the Judicial Investigating Organization.

The Judicial Investigating Organization said the suspect was 45. The agency also differed with the report by the Poder Judicial and said the man was detained in nearby Jacó. It also said that he is suspected of ordering the murder but stopped short of saying he was the man who pulled the trigger.

Prosecutors were questioning the man late Monday afternoon in Jacó at the Fiscalía de Garabito. The Poder Judicial said that he probably would be brought before a judge today at which time the prosecutors would seek incarceration.

Residents of Playa Hermosa responded to the killing by placing flowers at the door of the shop where the dead woman worked. They also chalked comments of sympathy on the metal anti-theft curtain. Many declined to discuss the crime because they know those who were being considered a suspect. The mechanic had long been considered a figure of interest by agents because of the threats witnesses said he had made. However, he has a business relationship with many of the community’s motorists, and many doubted that he was involved.

Agents knew from the beginning that the killing was not a robbery. Nothing of value was taken, and they had the testimony of the sister.

Ms. Erpen said on her Facebook page that her hometown was Colón, Entre Rios, Argentina. At the time of the murder, she was identified as Alejandra Erpen Fabre. The Poder Judicial now identifies her as Alejandra Erpen Sorber.

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