Key figure in Tamarindo vanishing case remains jailed

strunkova060315A man who could be a key witness in the 2010 disappearance of a female tourist in  Tamarindo has been jailed in Denver on an identity theft charge.

The man is William A. Ulmer, now of Arvada, Colorado. His girlfriend in 2010 was Barbara Struncova, a Czech citizen.

She vanished Dec. 5 of that year near Tamarindo.

Ulmer has been charged with multiple violations of misuse of a passport,  possession of identification document with an intent to defraud, possession of a stolen identification document, possession and use of means of identification and aggravated identity theft, according to documents in the U.S. District Court in Colorado.

Among other allegations, Ulmer is accused of using his brother’s passport to leave the United States and enter Costa Rica in 2010. He was never questioned in detail by judicial agents here because he left the country soon after Ms. Struncova vanished.

The U.S. Diplomatic Security Service detained him May 28 as he boarded a passenger jet at Denver International Airport. He was headed to Hawaii on a honeymoon with his new wife.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Nina Y. Wang denied Ulmer’s motion for bail after a hearing Tuesday in Denver. She ordered him to be taken to North Carolina where the identify

theft case will be continued.

In issuing the order, the magistrate judge said that Ulmer’s criminal record shows four instances of failures to appear in various cases.

At least one of the failures to appear occurred after Ulmer had been arrested for a felony of passing a worthless check in North Carolina. Before his court appearance he left the country, the magistrate judge wrote.

Ulmer is believed to have traveled to Costa Rica with Ms. Struncova then.
Judicial agents involved in the case said Tuesday that they had conducted air, sea and land searches for a body. Ulmer has said that she left him for another man.

Investigators said that blood was found where she was staying in Playa Langosta. That is not enough to lodge a criminal charge in Costa Rica. The judicial agents say that what they need is a body or at least a skull. The case still is open, he said.

An agent said there was no point in traveling to the United States to question Ulmer. He almost certainly will have a lawyer who will tell him to say nothing, the agent said.

Agents said they failed to contact him shortly after the woman went missing because they were interviewing other individuals.

Although Ulmer is a likely suspect, Ms. Struncova is not the only person to go missing in the Tamarindo area.

An Australian exchange student visiting on spring break from Florida in 2005 and a British journalist in 2009 also went missing. Remains of the student were located.

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