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Costa Rica: Threaten to Kill and Attack Residents, Citizens

Costa Rica News – Estelle Marie-Claire Jeanne, age 51, owner of the Pachamama Jungle River Lodge 1 was found dead, bound to a chair at the front gate to her empty hotel. To say that this gruesome and frightening event shook the small Southern Caribbean beach town of Puerto Viejo in late October 2016 is an understatement. The last person to see her alive had been the cleaning lady, who asked her if she was going to be safe alone for the night.  It took a month to apprehend one of the two men who tied her up and killed her on her own property.

Bruce McCallum, an esteemed teacher from Toronto, Canada, was on sabbatical to indulge his love of photography. He was stabbed twice in the stomach and robbed while trying to capture the glorious sunrise over the sea with his camera in Cocles, a popular surfing beach in Puerto Viejo. He was attacked by teenagers and left in the street. There was so much blood on the road that it had to be hosed down by a fire truck once his body was discovered in March this year. 2 He was 58 years old. Despite the fact that mounted surveillance cameras captured the murder and locals can identify the perpetrators, they have not been arrested.

Last year, a manhunt lasting over a week occurred in the jungle behind the main road. The search ran all the way to Sixaola. It took over a week to apprehend the narcotics trafficker who recognized two witnesses and decapitated them. Although many people in the area remember this vividly because there were reportedly 400 OIJ (Organismo de Investigacion Judicial, Costa Rica’s) 3 officers conducting the search there is no reference to it online that can be found.

The release of this article was delayed because a fisherman in Punta Mona pulled a body out of the water last week. 4 He had no identification. The hope was that it could be either confirmed or denied that he was murdered, but no such statements have been made publicly available. A second reason for the delay of the article will be put forth in the story in context.

The most violent year on record so far in Costa Rica was 2016. The Tico Times reported, “With another spike in homicides […], 2016 will go down in the books as the most violent year in Costa Rican history.” 5 Once revered as “The Switzerland of the Americas,” the small Central American country with a total population of about four million has a current murder rate of 12 in 100,000. Unfortunately, the numbers were already looking grim for 2017 back in January, as according to an OIJ report, nine people were killed on the first Sunday of the new year. 6

What happens when that figure is compared to the rest of the world? The worldwide average is eight. 7 Worse, what happens if we break it down by town? The tiny beach “paradise,” Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, has seen grisly murders every few months for years, with numbers climbing higher per annum. The murder rate of Costa Rica has doubled since 2002.

A casual resident, when asked, will reply that there have been several murders in the past year, several home invasions and a few shootings. How is this possible in a town of approximately 2,500 people, where the twelve in 100,000 statistic would equal .3 homicides per year, or less than one murder every three years?

An article released in September of 2015 stated the violence in Costa Rica has reached “pandemic” levels. Less than four months later, Deputy Chief of the Public Ministry, Celsa Gamboa, publicly stated that criminal groups have the country, “on its knees and in a blood bath, to which Costa Rica has never been accustomed.” 8 In March this year, it was announced Puerto Viejo would be getting a new police station. 9

The past year has seen brutal murders and a decline in tourism. The United States Embassy’s STEP 10 (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program) advisory issues warnings following episodes of violence warning its citizens not to travel to both Costa Rica and Limon in general, but also Puerto Viejo specifically. Canadians are being warned not to travel to Costa Rica every step of the way, from their travel bookings to currency exchange tellers. 11

While we are told the US Embassy should be dropping their alert on Puerto Viejo, one has to wonder about the motives behind the expats interviewed in articles such as the one in Tico Times titled “Puerto Viejo crime is down, but travel alert is still up.” Unfortunately, slowed business in a town that relies on tourism has many prepared to lie. 12

Except one. Tamara Smith is a US citizen and a permanent resident of Costa Rica; she is a small business owner in Puerto Viejo. Her story begins fourteen months ago. There are other victims of this group of people, but they are afraid to speak. It’s little wonder why many witnesses are asking Smith not to include them in her two court cases for severe harassment, including six death threats from five individuals with weapons. They have families and children just like she and her husband, Steve. They don’t want to deal with the consequences of speaking out.

For the Smith family, the problems started in March of 2016 when their neighbor, Judy, instructed her gardener to intentionally wake Tamara and her daughter (then three years old) from sleep. Afflicted with a rare genetic condition—Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome 13 (“EDS”), of which there are 13 defined types— and several comorbid conditions such as POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome), Ms. Smith suffers severe pain and dizziness almost every hour of every day. Ehlers-Danlos is one of the heritable disorders of connective tissue that affect collagen formation. “Basically, my body makes collagen wrong. This causes problems with the heart valves, aorta, eyes, ligaments… everything in your body has collagen in it. It is degenerative and causes severe joint and nerve pain” (she has osteoarthritis of the spine and most joints and polyneuropathy: numbness and loss of sensation in all four limbs), “frequent dislocations, constant subluxations and extreme fatigue because it is very hard for us to hold ourselves upright (EDS) and my heart acts like I am running a marathon all day (POTS).” She has a brain tumor and a spine tumor, “but I don’t think those hurt. My brain tumor causes olfactory hallucinations and everything smells like it’s rotting; my vision gets very grainy.”

However, the damage from having Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, such as the five hernias in her vertebrae and dislocations of a hip or shoulder if she turns on her side in her sleep, does hurt very much, prevents sleep, wakes her from sleep, causes her to have to take very strong medications for pain that keeps her bedridden and has pretty much taken away her ability to do anything physical except swim. The water is the only place she feels “normal,” able to move gracefully and painlessly like she used to on land. Tamara used to work as a Divemaster at the local dive shop but is now too embarrassed by her condition to even ask for a ride out on the boat. Deep dives give her pain relief for days.

Being woken from sleep at dawn by machete sounds causes her heart to race up to about 180 beats per minute. As is the case before one wakes up in the morning, she hadn’t had a chance to take her medicine yet, which takes thirty minutes to work. “It’s a well-known fact that sleep disruptions cause increased pain,” Tamara adds. “I moved here for better health, not to be made sicker by a human alarm clock with a sadistic side. [Judy and her friends] seem to think it’s a lifestyle choice. So, they throw rocks on my roof and bang trees with sticks at sunrise, laughing like maniacs. It makes you wonder who is the ‘insane’ one, doesn’t it?” she muses.

Before March 2016, for approximately two years, the Smiths and their neighbor had an easy agreement that Judy’s gardener would start his morning work on the far side of the yard. This was enough work that it didn’t wake the baby and the sleep-deprived woman prematurely. “He finished around two in the afternoon around this side of the house. For perspective, we asked for quiet until 9 a.m.”

One day in March, Tamara’s husband, Steve, was in San Jose retrieving documents from his daughter’s birth from the US embassy. She is a dual citizen and the family plans to take the Costa Rican citizenship test the day their seven-year waiting period is over. Unexpectedly, at 7 a.m., furious raking right underneath their bedroom window awakened Tamara and her baby. She and Judy exchanged words and Judy said, “Wear earplugs!” Tamara called Judy “uncivil,” pointed out that she needed to be able to hear her children and that they are not made for children, who would need them too, and asked if her gardener could please just start on the other side. Tamara said that nobody in the world moved to Costa Rica to be woken up. Later on, the Tennessee woman would tell friends that Tamara was abusive and “insane.” Apparently Judy saw fit to torture the family because the husband and wife were having a fight. Using some sort of twisted logic, instead of asking how she could help, she chose to punish the already hurting family.

“Does she think I am enjoying this? I can’t help it. I wouldn’t have [EDS] if I could choose, obviously,” Tamara says. “I didn’t tell anyone anything until it became impossible to hide. I needed to raise money to get specialist care, testing and treatment in San Jose. One of the tests was USD 3000. My medicine every month is close to USD 700 per month.” The more they asked for a cease-fire, the stronger the attacks grew.

Tamara saw things very plainly. She reasoned that if Judy was going to ruin her day and the day of everyone around her (because one in such severe pain cannot help but be grouchy to everyone around them), she would proceed to ruin Judy’s day. And thus began afternoons of (perfectly legal) loud music and a recording of dogs barking, the only thing Tamara knew Judy hated. Theirs being a large house, for the Smiths, the music and barking dogs were just a background noise with the bedroom door closed. “It would wake you up from sleep, no doubt,” said Tamara, “but I didn’t try to do that. I turned it off around 8:30 every night and I only did it on days Judy or her gardener woke me and/or my daughter up. I only began after attempts to speak with her failed. My husband asked several times in the beginning, before things got so overblown, before any death threats were issued, to speak with her and to try to convince her to go into mediation with a neutral third party.” Steve reports that “she literally told me ‘No!’ the first time and the second time she turned her back on me and screamed the same thing.”

The illegal perpetual tourist from Tennessee quickly started a war, without once picking up the phone or talking to the Smiths, that has not yet ended. This is the aforementioned second reason for the delay in releasing this article. A recruitment party was held last weekend with beer and wine to bring strangers never seen by Tamara or Steve before into the harassment suit. They began loudly chanting “Who the f*ck [are you],” at the family’s house and restaurant, which was open with customers in it. Six days later, a staged attack turned into assault and battery.

On the afternoon of May 19th, Judy brought four men over to pretend they were going to build a fence touching the Smiths’ house, which is where Judy wants the property line to be. The three children were outside playing, the restaurant was open and Steve started yelling to the kids to ‘have Mom call the police.’ Ned, a Canadian, was closest to the house with a PVC pipe that he was trying to push into the ground. Tamara put herself in the way because Ned was trespassing. She tried to take the pipe from him on her own property, when he roughly twisted and pulled it back, which dislocated her shoulder. He hip-checked her into the back wall of the restaurant, which is made of rough concrete, and left her with scratches all over her right arm. Suddenly, there was a brand new shiny axe two feet from her throat. “[Tamara] saw it and screamed, ‘Now you’re trying to kill me too?’”

Four police officers, who were by now accustomed to the weekend attacks by Judy, finally arrived and once again told the Smiths to file more denuncias in Bri Bri. Tamara told them that OIJ does not help her and they inquired as to why she did not have medida cautelar (“a restraining order with teeth” for criminal cases) against the people who were hurting and threatening her. Multiple parties are currently seeking the video after the filmed assault and battery. The four officers, being concerned by looking at Tamara and seeing her physical condition, called OIJ on her behalf. They simply didn’t believe she had really been asking for medida cautelar for over a year. When the OIJ did indeed confirm they hadn’t issued any to Tamara, the Fuerza Publica demanded OIJ give her as many as she requested against anyone who threatened her because she is obviously handicapped.

Tamara filed the first denuncia after receiving a death threat in email from Gretel, Judy’s recruited ‘friend’, after Tamara had written Gretel asking for help with the situation. “I don’t think OIJ believed that I did not threaten Judy in any way. They think I must have done something horrible to have caused Gretel to write such a thing, but I didn’t; I asked for help. Unless you count violin lessons, no threats were ever stated or implied.”

Tamara has been trying to get medida cautelar from OIJ against 4 more assailants who have threatened to kill her and/or have attacked her in the past year. Steve was attacked the day following the assault of his wife while trying to get the name of one of the perpetrators as he walked by the Smiths’ restaurant as if nothing had happened. Like several other friends of Judy’s, he has a criminal record in the United States.

It’s been a rabbit hole of deceit and delay ever since. Every time Tamara calls the police, they tell her to go to Bri Bri to get a medida cautelar. Every time Tamara goes to Bri Bri to ask for the medida cautelares they tell her she has to wait for the hearing and ask the judge. She has specifically asked for information on getting one issued immediately for handicapped people over a dozen times. Each time, she is told by the same person, “I’ll check,” but she doesn’t. This time, she pitted the police against the OIJ over the phone. “OIJ tells me the police don’t know what they’re talking about. I told them that and Steve dialed the phone. Those officers went from being dismissive to angry very quickly.”

While the person who sent the death threat, Gretel, has admitted to the federal police (OIJ) that she sent it, the case was downgraded from “criminal” to “petty criminal” despite three confirmation phone calls with judges the morning the evidence was submitted. Smith has been working carefully with the translator at OIJ. Unfortunately, they tried to convince her that machetes and chainsaws, not to mention human hands lunging for her throat, are not weapons. She wonders aloud if at her next visit a gun, pepper spray or an axe will count; she has three more denuncias to file.

One key piece of information that was being withheld from her, she feels, is that what Judy asked the court for is a simple domestic violence restraining order granted in the civil court to the 74-year-old Tennessee native, because “I am old. I am a cancer survivor.” The judge Steve spoke to after his lawyer refuted the charge on the spot confirmed it was only because of her age that the order was issued. “Even though it’s pretty useless, I wish someone had told me I could have gotten one of these while I have been waiting this whole time.”

We are left wanting to know why the judge issued a restraining order to the defendant in the case, a woman who has never been threatened or hurt, while the judge would not issue one to the disabled Tamara, who follows the law and has endured incredible libel and slander targeting every aspect of her life: family, business, appearance and accusations that she was faking her illness in addition to being the recipient of death threats orchestrated by Judy over the past 14 months. Tamara rarely ventures out of the house because of musculoskeletal pain and exhaustion except to see specialists in San Jose hospitals regarding her condition and to bring her three children to the beach. “There is exactly one doctor in the country who understands what Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome is. I Interviewed all of the doctors listed on the association of Rheumatologists in Costa Rica website; There were fewer than twenty.” The question many are wondering is: what threat do Tamara and Steve present to a neighbor they have repeatedly asked for a cease-fire from?

The fence was put up to protect Tamara’s life a day after the death threat was received last summer. And now there is no boundary at all between Judy, who has threatened to kill Tamara twice herself, and the Smith family. The two times they tried to put up the fence in the right place, Judy called the police. “Two of the workers quit on the spot because Judy said she would kill them. They were big, strong guys and she’s tiny. But the workers left in a hurry saying, ‘Sorry, this is not worth a bullet in my head.’ She scared them away. She’s a scary person.” The second time they tried to erect the fence, in a show of bizarre logic, Judy used the restraining order as a reason why the fence could not be put up. She even lied to the police and said Tamara’s lawyer signed the restraining order for her. Tamara asks, “If she lies to police and judges and threatened to hurt and kill me twice while enlisting people to threaten to hurt and kill me and my family, what kind of person are we talking about here?”

Regarding the perpetrator of the emailed death threat: “She states that she has friends in the police force and is friends with the DA. She says she’s untouchable and can do whatever she wants,” said Smith, who has lived in the small Caribbean village for six years. Tamara asked OIJ what to make of this statement from Gretel, who also threatens to take away her children in the letter and did indeed begin “anonymous” (yet obvious) proceedings, along with two other neighbors, with national child protective services, PANI. In spite of the assailant’s actions and her confessions regarding “deep connections within the police,” OIJ told Ms. Smith that she “would have to have faith that the judge upholds the law above any friendship she may have with Gretel.” The threat graphically describes how Gretel will bury Tamara: not in a mountain of paperwork, but in the ground.

“I have been living in a hotel periodically over the past fourteen months and have received exactly zero justice. Nobody is protecting us,” Smith says, referring to her entire family, which includes her husband and their three children. OIJ is very well aware of the five death threats, as Ms. Smith has asked for medida cautelar dozens of times. While it was in the hands of the criminal department, she was told it was only available to protect wives from their husbands; months later, after the suit was moved to petty crimes, she was told it was only available for criminal cases. Her requests regarding handicapped rights were ignored completely.

“Are they saying what their lack of protection implies? Why have I obeyed the law and waited for justice while never threatening anyone or damaging anything? I believed in the system. Are we the fools?” questions Tamara. The neighbor, who refuses to repudiate the emailed death threat from Gretel, is an illegal perpetual tourist. 14

Everywhere Tamara’s name is mentioned in person or online, she is called “insane.” Tamara took it upon herself to define cyber bullying in the notorious Puerto Viejo Open Forum on Facebook, informing the entire community that if they continued to participate in such activities, they could and would be prosecuted; if she died, they would all be suspects. “It’s a psych student’s dream,” many have commented regarding the Open Forum in general. She also invited everyone to stop by to meet her and her family personally, ask questions and get all the facts before repeating such detrimental and erroneous information. The woman who wrote the email death threat lied to try to get people to see things only from one side. The local grocer was even laughing to Tamara’s husband, saying, “How can anyone be happy like that never leaving the house?” Unfortunately, the discussion the Swiss grocer was having was about Tamara being “insane.“ “Loreno, the grocer, has no idea Tamara is physically disabled,” said Ned, when he was playing both sides of the fence.

Within a week or two, the “Bingo B*tches,” as they are known about town behind their backs, had an army spreading rumors and lies around this small town. Tamara could not even take her children to the beach without being afraid for all of their lives. “I don’t know when a stranger or someone I know is going to see an opportunity and take it. At any moment, I wonder, is somebody going to drive up behind me, hobbling with my cane and whack me, or worse, my children.”

Judy’s second direct death threat came on April 27. (Of the six total death threats, four are from other people associated with Judy.) It occurred in front of Tamara’s three young children while the police, municipal surveyor and lawyer were talking at a table in the couple’s restaurant less than 20 meters away, but out of sight. “I don’t think she knew they were all still here,” said Tamara. “She hid in her house for hours. I told her to ‘please do it while the police are here’ and asked her, ‘Are you going to shoot my children too?’” “I came running as soon as I heard a scuffle starting,” said Steve. She went back into her house when she realized the 5 officials were still at the family’s restaurant.

Unbelievably, a worse fate for the Smith family was in the cards in September 2016. A tenant known for causing trouble was installed in Judy’s home while she returned to Tennessee. A week here and there saw illegal tenants come and go with no problems. Unfortunately, this time a nine times convicted drug criminal from Virginia, Brandy, moved in for approximately three months, until the very end of November. During this time period, the Smith family had to call police almost every day. The obstinate, drug-addled tenant had friends coming and going at all hours, some staying for weeks and leaving only to be replaced by another. She threw up continuously from being drunk, waking everyone at all hours. Her idea of morning was 4:30 a.m. and she wanted everyone to know it. A smell of burning plastic emanated from the house that was noticed by several neighbors. A known drug manufacturer and distributer was at Judy’s house often with Brandy, but the police don’t investigate strange smells.

The nightmare couldn’t get any worse, or so they thought. On September 21, 2016, Judy’s gigantic fig tree crashed through the family’s home, less than two meters from striking the mother and daughter who were in bed reading. The abusive tenant, Brandy, was the first on the scene while Steve was working in the restaurant. She kept repeating to him, “I’m so sorry, Steve,” which confused him, but he immediately went inside the house to find half of it practically destroyed. Only then did he understand the reason for the apologies Brandy was giving. Photos taken immediately in the downpour revealed there were no roots on the tree at all facing Judy’s house. “The roots control the direction a tree can fall. Think of it like door hinges,” a friend explained. Asking long-time locals in the area if destroying roots on one side of a tree to make sure it didn’t fall on your house was a common practice gathered one answer: “Yes.” Perhaps bragging that she has owned the property for twenty-three years in this instance will hurt Judy instead of help her.

Because of the slander and libel, practically nobody came to aid the family. Notable exceptions were the other women who have been harassed by this “gang” of senior citizens and some other community members who had been fighting for Tamara online without her knowledge. Some never wavered; they knew the family well and many already disliked the Smiths’ neighbor.

Since then, things have gotten much worse. Judy’s tenant, Brandy, lunged at Tamara’s neck and repeatedly screamed, “I’m going to kill you, b*tch!” Luckily, there were approximately eight witnesses to that incident, including her husband, who shoved his way between them, pushing Tamara and her purple cane out of the purple gate that is on her property illegally. Yes, criminal usurpation of approximately 36 square meters of land behind the house has been added to the list of charges.

“We never knew she thought it was hers until December,” said Tamara. She’s admitted in email previously that the ‘more than a meter’ belongs to the Smith family. However, she never got the survey she wanted done, so we paid to have a survey from a fully licensed municipal worker who will testify. We also have a letter from the Chief of Police and his assistant, but she doesn’t care.” What was her retort to the proof that the land was not, in fact, hers? She filed for a domestic abuse restraining order against Tamara and Steve.

“We thought that once Brandy was gone, everything would calm down. We’ve always been on good terms, sometimes friends with, the people she has rented her house to for 350 dollars per month. We celebrated the birth of kittens and adopted two from one set of tenants; we are still in touch with another man who rented the place, who eventually chose Panama over Costa Rica.”

“Strange place, strange woman,” “shitty landlord” and “liar who is never happy” are just a few complaints the Smiths listened to while serving her tenants at their establishment. She calls the renters “guests” to try to pretend she isn’t charging them rent that as a tourist in Costa Rica she isn’t allowed to earn.

More than seven months after the tree disaster, which had the family living in nearby cabinas for a week, the mother and daughter now sleep in a special tent for PTSD sufferers. “It helps, but at least once a week someone in the family wakes crying or screaming about a tree.” The two boys were in the bedroom farthest from the tree and felt the house get slammed and tilt. They heard their mother’s screams. They remember that their sister didn’t wake up for two days due to shock. “It looked like she was asleep for 48 hours. No matter what we or the lawyer did, she did not respond.” The toddler’s body needed the time to repair itself. Special play therapy, primarily re-enacting the disaster with toys, was helpful. Tamara sought help from childhood trauma experts online, as there are none where she lives, on how to help toddlers through traumatic events. Therapists responded and helped her help the toddler every step of the way. “Eventually she invented a ‘good unicorn’ that lives on the roof to protect the house and family.” She still has nightmares, but interacts normally with friends and family now. Many of the experts suggested the toddler and Tamara be MedEvac’d. “We thought that would be more traumatic for her, so we decided against it since so many were willing to help us help her remotely.”

Someone called 911 and a fire truck and police showed up. It was raining hard and the roof was gone in four places; the back wall had a large hole in it. “There was glass and water everywhere. We lost a lot: furniture, clothing, photographs, family heirlooms […]. The firemen told us to ‘go to the safe place’ in the house, which was downstairs. It was dark and they said they would need to wait until the morning to safely remove the tree from the house.”

They didn’t come the next morning like they promised. When they arrived on request of the lawyer, they refused to remove the tree. The lawyer said they needed to do what they promised: the house was still moving and the central beam inching between the walls was getting lower and lower. The firemen left. “I suspect the ‘deep connections’ of Gretel extended to the fire department. They must have been told not to help us. Nobody came to help us.”

As Judy was in the United States, she had her very close friends take care of the tree removal. This meant every day they told the family the tree would be removed, but for six days it was not. Then they were promised that the wood and debris from the tree would be put in Judy’s yard. “They dumped it in our restaurant parking lot and told us it would be picked up at the end of the day. We knew that was a lie.” When the sun started to set and the pile was growing, not being removed, Tamara went to confront the “arborist” and his workers, who had pulled their car away and over to Judy’s house. “I brought a log with me even though I was walking with my cane. I asked in my best Spanish why the wood wasn’t gone yet. That’s when the tenant came out and tried to strangle me.”

“She had been drinking and gotten high and actually had a party to watch the tree being cut off our house. My kids and I were crying and flinching at every noise and they were cheering and cracking open beer cans every few minutes.” “It was, at the very least, extremely distasteful,” said another neighbor.

After a few days, the huge pile of wood had a cardboard sign thrown at it. It said, “Wood will be picked up Tuesday AM.” The pathological liars who had tricked them many times before were doing it again. No real surprise. After being told “mañana” for six days, bringing the total days of tree devastation to twelve, they were finally able to try to pick up the pieces and live anew. They could not open their restaurant during the twelve days, which was not good considering there was thousands of dollars’ worth of damage that needed to be fixed.

Due to the severe online libel and in-person slander that Tamara had to endure, for weeks she considered ending her own life, rationally and calmly. She says she still feels pushed to the brink of suicide any time she hears the word “insane” or when she is attacked. The people perpetuating the insanity lie kept repeating to her and her husband the same mantra dozens of times: “I feel so sorry for your husband. You’re insane. You really need to check yourself into a hospital.” Instead, Tamara persevered and fought back.

“Is Tamara insane? No… she’s different, but I like that about her. She’s creative and brilliant, not crazy,” said a neighbor. Considering nobody ever called her insane until last year “you could definitely say Judy ruined my life here in Puerto Viejo,” Tamara says, sadly. “I fell in love with this town the day I arrived.”

Continuing to this day, the restaurant owners fight false reviews that attack their 4.5-star ice cream parlor. One of the reviewers confronted Tamara’s husband and admitted she made a false bad review and said she would take it down if he gave her a compliment. The woman, another friend of Brandy’s, came over one day and told Steve, “My dog told me to kill Tamara and myself.” She was again arrested. She was committed and declared “insane” three times, but never held, investigated or deported. To this day, Tamara has never actually met the woman, whose whereabouts are currently unknown. She was simply directed by the power of online cyber bullying.

The question the Smiths are left with at the end of every day, the one that keeps them from sleeping and forces them to live in hotels, is this: will one more need to die before justice is served? It could be years from now or tomorrow, but Costa Rica definitely gives the impression that the answer is “yes.”


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