Mystery surrounds killing of American citizen near La Fortuna

Editor’s note: An update to this story is available here.

February 11th, 2014 (InsideCostaRica.com) There remains no known motive for the brutal murder of 64-year-old U.S. citizen, Kurt Heigis, though authorities are beginning to rule out robbery as a motive in the man’s killing.

 

Heigis was killed by unknown assailants around 7:30pm Sunday night on a gravel road about 4km from La Fortuna de San Carlos.  Authorities said the rural road on which the couple traveled is frequented by drug traffickers and addicts.

 

Heigis was traveling home with his romantic partner, a 30-year-old Nicaraguan woman identified as Marta Rafaela Blandón, when they approached a bridge that was blocked by a vehicle, apparently driven by three assailants.

 

The version of events of what happened next varies.  According to one account, Heigis walked over to the vehicle to offer assistance; according to another account, the assailants approached Heigis’s vehicle and drug him from the drivers seat.

 

Two of the assailants then hit Heigis in the head, stabbed him and cut his throat on the side of the road, killing him.  Blandon told authorities that the third assailant restrained her during the slaying and that she survived by begging for her life.

 

Robbery does not appear to be a motive in the slaying, as the assailants did not steal any valuables from the couple, including $1,900 in cash that Heigis had with him.

 

According to immigration authorities, Heigis had entered and exited Costa Rica 19 times since 2007.  His last entry is recorded as December 8th, 2013.

 

Unconfirmed reports indicate that Heigis may have had business interests in Guatemala.  Neighbors of Heigis said that he mostly kept to himself.

 

 

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    • Douglas Hotchkiss

      once again , why i like my little 38, it never leaves my side.

      • Oliver Wendell Holmes

        Happiness is a warm gun, eh Doug?
        This sounds like a professional hit. If pro hit men were after you, they’d know you had a gun, and snuff you before you had a chance to unholster it, and then it would likely end up in the hands of another criminal.

        • Douglas Hotchkiss

          holmes was fond of the bulldog 44 . i had one some years back .. when not down there i’m up in arizona. nobody’s done me in yet pilgrim

          • Douglas Hotchkiss

            i dont use a holster much, it just slips in a pocket or my back brace along with my 6 inch switchblade .

            • Douglas Hotchkiss

              ah, but you are oliver wendall holmes, maybe a lawyer then..you should watch – the man who shot liberty valance .

            • Douglas Hotchkiss

              oliver wendall holmes, clearly no sherlock holmes..never met a lawyer type who couldnt respond to a hick like me.

        • Frank Castle

          Wow, you don’t give people much credit when it comes to them carrying their firearms. Has it ever occurred to you that they might train with them for that kind of situation? I own a couple of 9 mm’s, a .45 acp, 12 gauge, etc. and I train with them. Of course, 30 years in the military doesn’t hurt either. Do we know if this gentleman was retired military. A lot of Americans retired in Latin America are. Oh, if these were pro hit men, I would hate to see what the average hit men were like.

          • Douglas Hotchkiss

            i did the sears and roebuck hunter safety class at 12, our boy scout troop was on it too. i never did hunt much, just got a little snubnose and old coach gun for self protection, and those around me. i used to monitor mentally ill sex offenders. the playground is across the street. there wont be any problems .

          • Carroll Thomas Sparks Sr.

            No sir not military but a rancher and ranchers son. His gun collection is nice. I’m not sure why he wasn’t carrying but I guarantee he was a hell of a shot.

            • Douglas Hotchkiss

              this is a shame, i got convinced i should never let my guard down , i see what happens if you do. sorry.

    • LivingLifeInCostaRica

      Why doesn’t the media report the findings LATER like the toxicology report or the police report – if he had drugs in his system, on his fingers (testing), in his car, in his home? Then we can put 2+2 together & heed the warning!! (IF that was what it was – though OFTEN that IS what these are)

      • http://insidecostarica.com/ Timothy Williams

        Honestly? Because many times such testing (besides the toxicology report) is never performed. Many crime scenes are also completely contaminated before the OIJ ever arrives on the scene, including the body, vehicle, etc – including bodies and vehicles touched by both local police and many times bystanders; bodies and vehicles moved; weapons and other evidence handled bare handed by poorly trained local police (especially in relatively remote communities like this).

        There is no reason at this point to believe that the man’s killing had anything to do with drugs. The fact that local police report that the gravel road where he was killed is frequented by drug traffickers and users is of little consequence, at least as a journalist. He could have made a wrong turn and drove the same type of vehicle that the assailants had planned another hit on for all anyone knows.

        That said we are continuing to work this story to the best of our ability and updates will be made as we receive any credible information.

        Tim Williams, Editor

        • Rochard

          Perhaps it was a robbery and the robbers just got spooked by something and left before searching for cash. The idea of it being a professional hit sounds unlikely given a knife was used as the murder weapon and it was set up as like an ambush. Anyhow as others have said, another reason to arm yourself and ensure you have the proper defense training.

          • http://insidecostarica.com/ Timothy Williams

            The example scenario above was just that, an example – an example of why journalists should never jump to conclusions – and neither should readers.

          • Bryann Hill

            Are you kidding me? Opportunist muggers may beat a guy, they may stab a guy, but they don’t often cut a guy’s throat. That is a little more brutal than spur of the moment. There was something going on here. (NOT drugs.) But we do need to find out what.

      • Carroll Thomas Sparks Sr.

        Kurt was not into drugs. He was a simple man looking to make money by working himself to death. Years ago he had his head crushed by a bobcat bucket and made a miraculous recovery only to work his way to being successful enough to own several pieces of equipment and a home on 60 acres in Columbus, Montana. I’m not saying he was perfect but he was a great influence in the lives of those who knew him. He gave us all something to strive for and incentivized us to work harder for the things we want.

        • Joanna

          Our Father DID NOT do drugs; nor was he into any part of that world. Like Carroll said, he was a simple, yet inspiring man. Very well liked and loved by many. While I will not discuss the investigation, I am pleading with the public to PLEASE come for if you have information. I will continue to bring this forward until justice can be done and peace in our families hearts.

        • Bryann Hill

          I would not say Kurt was simple! Hard worker, for sure! Smart, absolutely. Into drugs and trashy crap…NEVER!
          Many an evening he’d be at my house visiting after work, he would never have more than a couple of beers, he had to drive home.
          I think this was a hit.
          Why?
          I have no idea. But certainly Kurt liked to talk. Apparently, he pissed somebody off.
          I am quite concerned by Marta, why did she survive, no problemo?
          It would be so sad if she were involved, Kurt cared deeply for her, and her daughters.
          Kurt would absolutely hate for people to think he was any kind of wuss. He owned all kinds of guns, and knew how to use them.
          Those of us who care about Kurt need to keep pushing until we find out why.

          • Carroll Thomas Sparks Sr.

            Bryann, I apologize if I used the wrong descriptive. I didn’t intend for my comment to be offensive. His daughters want the truth too and in twenty years of marriage I don’t remember a time when my wife, his oldest, ever quit. She’s just as stubborn as he ever was and when they all get together they gather strength from each other. After reading your “wuss” comment I know we are on the same page and have the same questions.

    • Chris Thomas

      The minority that rule this country and the goverment are evil, I do not believe any report coming from them, they always alter stats and hide bad news under the rug to keep more tourists coming in, I love their marketing campaign Costa Rica Pura Vida, tell that to the American man who was shot in Brasilito on December 21, 2013 it took an hour for the ambulance to get to him so he bled to death, the goverment keeps telling people is a safe place but they do not tell people if you get shot or killed you are on your own. This place is a sewer and people need to stop coming here, visit Costa Rica but visit other countries in Latin America and you will see how scredwed up Costa Rica is San Jose is dirty and full of garbage everywhere.

      • Douglas Hotchkiss

        in my travels, i can tell you that you are always on your own, i dont count on cops, or assume i’m some where safe- thats an illusion, get strapped, defend your own self.

        • Frank Castle

          Exactly, arm yourself whether it’s legal or not. It’s only your life that you might lose if you don’t.

          • Douglas Hotchkiss

            i dont even pack a gun much, but if you raised a hand to me you’d get the arteries all cut up , then you’d only have a few minutes till you bleed out. maybe your crew can get you in the suv and to the hospital in time bitch

            • Chris Thomas

              This is great in theory in Costa Rica even if you get a gun legally and shoot someone specially if your are a tourist they will try to extort money from you and put you in jail anyways, the criminals in this country have tons of rights and the average Joe has none, this is a criminals paradaise down here. Even if you get all the leagl paper work to own a gun which is a lot of red tape and running around and countless hours in line they send you to 3 different places to complete the process and it can take up to 3 business days to get this permit while you get everything in order.

            • Douglas Hotchkiss

              badges? i don need no stinking badges..

    • Douglas Hotchkiss

      holmes wants to think i’m some gun nut numb nuts, which is far from the case. i’m no ted nugent fan , or tough guy full of bravado,, i’ve just settled some shit before.

      • Frank Castle

        Molon Labe…..I agree 100%.

        • Douglas Hotchkiss

          shit, i’m old and cant run, cant hardly fight, sorry kid, you’re plugged. or stabbed. i can be stabby..

          • Douglas Hotchkiss

            i got ambushed one morning at a work site, fractured skull, collar bone, didnt have a gun , but i did stick him and beat my retreat,, then you swear, nevermore.
            oh, he’s dead now, i’m retired.

    • Douglas Hotchkiss

      when i’m in phx i live under the iron fist of sheriff joe arpaio, he puts lawbreakers in tents behind barb wire and they work on a chain gang. the cops shoot people left and right ..most anybody can have a gun, and crime is a short career.

    • Douglas Hotchkiss

      back in costa i got a spot out in the hills, all tranquilo, but there’s obviously some problems, and i fail to see why people arent fed up and doing something. there’s armed citizen patrols in mexico. will you wait till theres heads in the square ?

      • Douglas Hotchkiss

        i’d start with limon. clamp it down, flush all the rats and move to san jose and the pan am.

        • Douglas Hotchkiss

          as for wretched addicts, man , thats tough..that stuffs a bitch, lost friends to it, seen friends make a come back. same with booze.

    • Chris Thomas

      I used to think Costa Rica was pretty good until I travelled to cities like Quito or Bogota much cleaner and much modern and less expensive, especially South America the cities are much better managed çeven in leftist goverments, once you have travelled to other cities in Latin America then you wake up and realize what a sewer this place is

      • Douglas Hotchkiss

        sadly true. i dont pay much attention to the law anymore.

    • Douglas Hotchkiss

      i used to tell people costa rica was a great place, and i sure dont tell them that anymore..so when no more visitors come and the thugs turn on there own , maybe ticos will get their collective head out of their asses. an easy position when one has no backbone.

    • GySgtStryker

      Did this guy have any early connection to Barry Soetoro?

      • Douglas Hotchkiss

        huh?