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Four People On Trial In Limon For Killing American Whose Body Was Never Found

The Limon Criminal Court in the trial of the murder of American Brian Lynn Hogue is composed of the three-judge panel, from left, Karen Parrales, Hernán Salazar and Veronica Dixon. In the forefront (in pink), is Martin Antonio Coto, who represents the family of the victim. (Rodolfo Martín, La Nacion)

Q COSTA RICA – No body, no problem, the case of homicide moves forward, is the decision of the Ministerio Público (Prosecutor’s Office) against two sisters, a bus driver and a businessman accused of killing American investor Brian Lynn Houge, who disappeared in Limon on June 1, 2015.

The body was never found.

In the trial that started last Thursday and that continues today (Monday), Prosecutor Paul Fuentes, accused Ruth and Dayana Gaitán Ramírez de 23 and 21, Jeiner Zúñiga Salazar (30) and Bernardo Corrales Vargas (37), for the alleged homicide, fraud, and ideological misrepresentation.

Fuentes said that during the trial he will provide sufficient evidence that Hogue was killed.

In Costa Rica’s judicial system, a trial is not proving guilt, rather to detail the crime(s) and the guilt of the accused of said crime(s).

This is the second time that the Limon Prosecutor’s Office brings to trial a case of murder, without the body of the victim. On June 5, 2015, Luis Rodriguez Zamora was sentenced to 35 years in prison for the murder of Kenny Bryan McDonald Hill.

In that case, the Limon Criminal Court found the accused guilty, for during trial it was verified that McDonald was murdered by a gunshot, later decapitated and the remains put into pots used to hunt locusts and then thrown into the sea.

The Hogue History

Brian Lynn Hogue, originally from California, settled in Costa Rica after retiring, dedicating himself to the real estate business, whereby he acquired and sold farms in various parts of the country.

In 2014 he bought a property in Gallopinto de la Rita de Pococí, in the province of Limon, where he met the Gaitán sisters and started a sentimental relationship with Ruth in January 2015.

According to the prosecution, in May 2015 Ruth and the businessman named Corrales allegedly devised a plan to take over Hogue’s estates in Paquera, Puntarenas, as well as the vehicle owned by him.

Corrales and Gaitán knew each other since they were originally from San Carlos, in the province of Alajuela, in the northern part of the country, and apparently had a sentimental relationship from which she became pregnant. However, the pregnancy was interrupted by an abortion, said prosecutor Fuentes.

According to the prosecutor, allegedly, those involved resorted to altering documents to take ownership of Hague’s properties in Paquera.

In the last days of May 2015, Hogue had two meetings with two notaries and learned that his property had been stolen.

For this reason, according to the report of the Prosecutor’s Office, was when the defendants planned to take Hogue’s life.

According to the prosecutor, the accused took advantage of a trip that the American made to Limón, where would meet with Ruth.

The American was reportedly taken from his hotel room on June 1, 2015.

Fuentes explained that the Prosecutor’s Office has the transcripts of telephone calls made by the defendants and several text messages in which the murder is demonstrated, which will all be made public during the course of the trial.

Fuentes added that the evidence also showd the involvement a bus driver and Ruth’s sister, Dayana.

The three-judge trial panel is composed of Karen Parrales, Veronica Dixon and Hernan Salazar, the latter chairing the trial.

The defense attorneys are Leonel Villalobos, Rodrigo Herrera, Rafael Rodríguez and José Ramírez.

The American’s family is represented by Martín Antonio Coto.