Nicaragua: Detainees match photos of US suspects
MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) – Two foreigners detained in Nicaragua have been identified as the American couple wanted in Panama in the death of a U.S. woman, and police said Tuesday they would hand the couple over to Panamanian authorities.
The pair matched photographs provided by Panamanian authorities of William Adolfo Cortez of Texas and his wife Jane, who are being sought in the death of Lynn Hughes, Nicaraguan army spokesman Juan Ramon Morales said.
“These are the people who are being sought by police in Panama, and they will be handed over to the authorities of that country,” National Police official Glenda Zavala said at a news conference.
Zavala said police had not yet questioned the couple, who were detained by the Nicaraguan army Monday at the border with Costa Rica.
The two identified themselves as an American man and Dutch woman and gave names that did not coincide with the Panama suspects. Nicaraguan and Panamanian authorities believe they were traveling under false names.
“The photographs that we have coincide with those arrested yesterday,” Morales told The Associated Press.
Panama has been informed of the identification and has begun proceedings to seek the couple’s extradition, said Javier Carillo, the head of Panama’s investigative police.
Panamanian police found Hughes’s body last week buried in the back patio of a hotel owned by Cortez in western Bocas del Toro province. She had been missing since March. Acquaintances said Hughes was from St. Louis, but the U.S. embassy in Panama refused to confirm that.
Panamanian authorities said they also found the skeletal remains of a man who also might be a U.S. citizen.
Panamanian police suspect Cortez killed the two in a bid to grab their property. Police said Hughes once owned the hotel where her body was found. They said records show the other victim also once owned property now under Cortez’s name. Police are investigating whether the property transfers were legal.
Carrillo said police believe Cortez and his wife used false names to buy property in Panama.