Woman who ran medical non-profit found murdered in Barrio California

Someone brutally murdered a U.S. woman who ran an international medical volunteer service.

The Judicial Investigating Organization said that the woman, Sondra Payne Elizondo, died in a Barrio California hotel room and that her body was discovered Wednesday afternoon by hotel employees. She was stabbed 24 times. She was an alumna of the U.S. Peace Corps and served in the Cartago area in the mid-1990s.

She also co-founded the non-profit VIDA Volunteers in 2007. The organization has since treated

Sondra Payne Elizondo

Sondra Payne Elizondo

thousands of Costa Ricans, Nicaraguans,  Guatemalans and Panamanians. It even provides veterinarian services in rural communities.

Mrs. Elizondo, 45, is believed to have married here and then moved to the Twin Cities area of Minnesota. She and her husband, Richard, returned to Costa Rica in 2004, according to a feature report by the University of St. Thomas where she was graduated in 1992 with a degree in social work. The university reported that the couple had two children.

The Judicial Investigating Organization said that she no longer lived here but was a frequent visitor. She last entered the country Saturday, investigators said.

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