SAN JOSE – A teenage girl was the only survivor in a mass killing that left five people dead in a Costa Rican town, law enforcement authorities said on Thursday, adding that evidence was being sought to clear up the murders and find those responsible.
“We still have not established the motive. We’re in a very preliminary phase which does not allow us to confirm how the incident came about. We don’t know how many people participated, how many weapons they used or in what order the deeds were committed, Judicial Investigation Department (OIJ) director Walter Espinoza said at a press conference.
The massacre took place in the Pacific coastal town of Liberia.
Four of the victims, all of whom all had their throat cut, were identified as Joseph Briones, 22; Stephanie Hernandez Garcia, age undetermined; Dayana Martinez Romero, 24, and Ingrid Mendez Serrano, age unknown, and all were students at the University of Costa Rica living in the town of Upala.
The other fatality – a man – has not been identified yet by authorities, and the 14-year-old survivor, Nayeli Yessenia Hernandez Vargas, is in the hospital with wounds to her neck.
The girl, who was a seventh grader and the cousin of Stephanni Hernandez, was visiting the area and preparing to take some tests at school.
“(Nayeli Hernandez) received the wounds in the (apartment), but she made an attempt to leave and ... get help,” Espinoza said.
The victims were found in an apartment that three of them were renting. They had been gagged and bound hand and foot in one of the rooms.
Espinoza said that an interdisciplinary team of experts was dispatched to the bloody murder scene to gather evidence, adding that the victims were evidently killed with a knife, although no such weapon was found.
The apartment is located behind a home, but nobody else in the vicinity apparently heard any odd noises or cries for help.