American farmer, Steve Paul Sanduski, 61, and five farm workers killed at his remote ranch in Costa Rica – Victims were ‘tortured, some doused in gasoline and set alight,’ in suspected home invasion
American transplant, 61, and five farm workers are killed at his remote ranch in Costa Rica – Victims were ‘tortured, doused in gasoline and set alight’
American Stephen Paul Sandusky, 61, was among six victims tortured and killed on a remote farm in the Puntarenas province of Costa Rica, the judicial police said Monday
Five of the victims, all Costa Rican nationals were identified as Daniel Quesada Cascante, 44, Cascante’s wife Villarevia Rivera, 41 and their 20-year-old son, Quesada Villarevia, Zúñiga Rodriguez, 40, and Borbón Muñoz, 38
Sandusky and another male victim were found burned – one of them was found in the cargo bed of a ‘fully-burned’ pick up truck on the property
The two women, Rodriguez and Riviera, both were shot in the head and a man’s body riddled with gunshot wounds were found sprayed with fuel
The male victims that were not burned had been shot multiple times and doused with flammable liquid
Police were called to the scene at 1 am on Monday after relatives went searching for their family members on the property after they didn’t come home
Despite speculation that the motive could be robbery, however, investigators have not released any information on what was taken, if anything, from the property and reasons for the extreme violence used in the attack
Costa Rica judicial police said they have no leads so far, in the killings
Six people, including an American, were tortured and killed – some shot, some burned, and all doused with gasoline – on a remote ranch in Costa Rica.
Stephen ‘Steve’ Paul Sandusky, 61, from the US, was found on his cattle and coffee farm along with five Costa Rican victims who arrived there on Sunday in Llano Bonito de Buenos Aires de Puntarenas, in the southern part of the country.
Sandusky, a retired father of two, was a Costa Rican resident, according to Organismo de Investigacion Judicial (OIJ) director Walter Espinoza. It is unclear where he resided in the United States.
Sandusky had been living in the country since 2000, according to Q Costa Rica.
Sandusky, a divorced father-of-two emigrated from US to Costa Rica in the late nineties, living at various times in Pérez Zeledón, Buenos Aires and Osa. Finally buying the property in Llano Bonito in Buenos Aires ‘because he wanted to live in peace,’ his former lawyer Jorge Enrique Infante, said on Monday, adding that last year Sandusky had complained that “that they robbed him a lot”.
His ranch began with raising cattle and lately added coffee production.
In 2000 Sandusky started a restaurant business in Osa, which shut down sometime five years later, with attendant contract disputes with former employees.
In court proceedings, some of his former employees claimed they were stiffed on severance pay and bonuses. The restaurant owner however countered that those were workers he fired because they stole from him.
In 2002 Sandusky was among 6,200 odd victims of a multi-million scam run by Osvaldo Villalobos through his companies Ofinter and “The Brothers”, which lured investors by promising unrealized huge interest payments.
In August 2006, a guard at the ranch was shot dead by a former police officer named Saldaña.
The guard, Édgar Humberto Rojas Blanco, had reported Saldaña to the Buenos Aires Prosecutor’s Office for the theft of zinc sheets and purlin.
Sandusky testified at the murder trial that the victim, Édgar Blanco, had phoned to tell him that he was hiding in the bushes near the river, on the property because Saldaña had threatened to shoot him.
The police officer was sentenced to 12 years in prison for the murder in November, 2006.
The other five victims killed along with Sandusky include his 44-year-old mechanic Daniel Quesada Cascante, who was on the property Sunday morning to repair farm machinery, as well as Cascante’s wife Villarevia Rivera, 41 and their 20-year-old son, Quesada Villarevia, according to TVSur.
The outlet also named couple of the ranch owner’s friends – a woman named Zúñiga Rodríguez, 40, and a man identified as Borbón Muñoz, 38, as the other two victims on the massacre.
Currently, the judicial police – Organismo de Investigacion- who were called out to the ranch in Llano Bonito after victims’ family members found their relatives’ bodies on the property, said they had no leads in the killings.
A broken window and signs of a search inside the home on the property have lead authorities to believe the mass murder could have been a home invasion gone wrong.
The two adult females , Rodriguez and Rivera, were found in front of the vehicle, both were shot in the head .
About about 300 feet away in an alley lay a man’s bullet-riddled body, doused with flammable fluid, but had not been set alight like two of the other male victims.
Sandusky and another male victims were found burned, one of them was found in the cargo bed of a ‘fully-burned’ pick up truck on the property.
Relatives of the victims traveled to the property after their family members hadn’t returned home, stumbling upon the carnage at the farm.
‘We walked in and found my son’s body fully burned, the scene with the women around the car, it was hard to find all the bodies burned and wrapped in tires and some with shots,’ Eladio Quesada, the slain 44-year-old’s father, told local news outlet AHCR Noticias.
Police were called to the scene at 1 am.
The remote property can only be accessed by a private road, about two miles from the closest public street, police said – the OIJ amassed a team of forensic analysts and detectives from the nation’s capital, San Jose, six hours away. Despite speculation that the motive could be robbery, however, investigators have not released any information on what was taken, if anything, from the property and reasons for the extreme violence used in the attack, that included several of the victims being shot and set on fire.
The slaying shook the peaceful nation, which has the lowest homicide rate in Central America at 11.1 per every 100,000 inhabitants.
This is my Uncles brothers farm… My mother told me unfortunately he was in the process of selling the house for 1.8 million dollars and the people who did the crime thought he had tons of cash inside the house. No one deserves to have their life ended in this way. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved in this tragedy.