Bloodhound helps police catch murder suspect

Law officers are crediting a 4-year-old bloodhound named  Bratt for capturing a multiple murder suspect in southeastern Costa Rica and putting an end to a massive manhunt.

The suspect is  Florentino Elizondo Ríos, 41, who had been hiding in the jungle since Thursday night. He was encountered in a banana plantation in Pueblo Civil de Laguna 20 between Bribri and Sixaola.

More than 100 police officers and judicial investigators had been seeking him since law officers learned of the grisly murders of two local young men. In addition to the murders in Sixaola,  Elizondo was being sought for five more, said the Fuerza Pública.

Two of his companions, both 18,  were detained by police Thursday night after a brief firefight, but a man believed to have been Elizondo fled into the countryside.

The security ministry’s  Servicio de Vigilancia Aérea  and the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas also were involved in the search. Officers feared that the suspect would cross the Río Sixaola and flee into Panamá.

Elizondo was in a field with meter-high banana plants when he was spotted about 6 a.m. Sunday, said police. He tried to leave that location but the field had been surrounded by police, officers said.

The fugitive is the subject of an arrest warrant involving an unrelated murder near Guåpiles, said officers.

The motive for the murders in Sixaola is not yet clear. Law enforcement officers are expected to give more detailed this morning.

One of the dead men is  José García García, 23, who was identified by the Cuerpo de Bomberos because he was a volunteer firefighter for nearly two years. The second victim was identified as  José Torres Torres. 21. Both were buried

Police went door to door seeking suspect.

Police went door to door seeking suspect.

Saturday amid an outpouring of community sympathy and an escort of firefighters.

The bodies were found in  Paraíso de Sixaola in a section called Parcelas, That was where the pair had farmland. They were last seen Monday when they left to tend their land.

The owner of an adjacent parcel of land had a strange story Wednesday evening.

The man presented himself to judicial agents about 6:30 p.m. and said that he had been abducted by three men who took him to the spot where the two victims were tied to a tree. The victims already showed signs of stab wounds. The man told agents that his abductors wanted him to kill García and Torres, but he declined  and watched as one of the abductors killed both with a blade to the throats and then buried them.  The man told agents he was able to flee. He was held as a witness, and it is he who is believed to have directed police to the graves.

An earlier story is HERE!

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