Updated 07:53 PM EDT, Sat, Sep 26, 2020

American Aid Worker Found Murdered by Lover in Costa Rica: OIJ Officials Record More Than 500 Murders in 2015

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Sondra Lynn Elizondo, a U.S. aid worker, was stabbed to death by her lover 15 times in Costa Rica after she attempted to end their two-year casual relationship.

Costa Rican police told Daily Mail that they believe that after the murder, the 25-year-old suspect stole some of Elizondo's personal belongings from their hotel in the capital San José, including her cell phone and credit card, which he used to make purchases. This is the angle that Costa Rica's Judicial Investigation Department (OIJ) is currently working on as they attempt to solve the murder.

Authorities have not yet publicized the suspect's identity, but it's believed that he's a Costa Rican native described by sources as medium height, with a slim build and a designer trimmed beard, Daily Mail wrote. Police officers investigated the man's home in Coronado, a scenic town south of San José.

According to the news outlet, the OIJ believes that Elizondo, 46, was killed after she threatened to leave her lover over his jealousy and controlling behavior. The couple had been preparing to head to a romantic vacation to neighboring country Nicaragua on the day of Elizondo's murder.

The attack took place at Casa 69, a small boutique hotel, on Wednesday morning presumably between 8 and 9 AM, Daily Mail noted. Around 11:30 AM, a maid entered the room to clean and found Elizondo's body lying on the bed, naked and covered in blood with a pillow over her face believed to muffle her screams.

Elizondo's case is one of the most recent murders in Costa Rica, a nation which sees 2015 as the most violent year in its history. Fox News Latino reported from the OIJ that at least 528 homicides are recorded in the country to date.

OIJ's data indicated that 527 killings were recorded in 2010, but since then Costa Rica has observed a decline to 474 in 2011, 407 in 2012, 411 in 2013, and 477 in 2014, Fox News Latino listed. The OIJ and the Security Ministry said that majority of these deaths were executed by hired killers for "revenge or the settling of scores" between organized crime groups, particularly drug traffickers.

At the current rate, Costa Rica will wrap 2015 with a homicide rate of 11 per 100,000, with August as this year's most violent month. The World Health Organization, or WHO, described this homicide rate or greater as an "epidemic," Inside Costa Rica reported. There are also some deaths not counted in the statistics but have been tagged as "potential" homicides.

Elizondo's murder belonged to the eight homicides recorded in 17 hours between last week's Wednesday and Thursday, Inside Costa Rica noted.

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