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20 years

American man, 37, found shot dead in Dominical

April 11th, 2014 ( A 37-year-old American man was found shot dead in his vehicle in Dominical, according to police.


The body of Jason Phillips was found in the driver’s side of his Ford pickup with the door open. Phillips had a gunshot wound to his mouth and an exit wound in the back of his head.   The victim’s son reportedly made the discovery.


“We received a report of a deceased person in Playa Dominical, upon arrival we found a man of about 37 years of age with a gunshot wound to his mouth and an exit wound in the back of his head and no vital signs,” said Heiner Alpizar, a local police lieutenant.


According to a report by the daily Diaro Extra, Phillips had only lived in Costa Rica for about a month.


Phillips reportedly owned a surf shop in the area.


Authorities have not ruled out foul play and an investigation is ongoing.  A photo of the crime scene published by Diaro Extra seems to show Phillips’ pickup crashed into a tree, and there was no immediate report of a weapon found at the scene.


Editor’s note:  If you knew Phillips or have any information about this case, please email  You are welcome to remain anonymous, and we vigorously protect our sources.

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  • DaveP

    Thats one gringo a month getting killed execution style…

    Good coverage Tim, as best I can tell this is the only site covering this story.

    • Karen Mata

      I agree.

      Condolences to the family.

      The truth is “pura vida” is arsenic laced.

      • DaveP

        Will the OIJ be calling it an accident or an suicide?

        • Daryl Smitts

          It has been called a suicide by the OIJ. Happened in broad daylight on the beach, witnesses everywhere. No one else around the car when the shot went off. Cut and dry…

    • CommonSense

      Even if your grim prognosis was accurate, and it’s not, that still would be fewer gringos killed in the country of CR than murdered in ONE NIGHT in Chicago, Miami, NYC or Oakland!
      Let’s not lose perspective.
      Thanks and have a nice day.

  • Douglas Hotchkiss

    wow- now domninical .. guess the handwriting is on the wall isnt it?

  • Daryl Smitts

    I just want to set the record straight here… to the posters below… No execution and no foul play here. This was a suicide. I have known Jason for over 20 years he was a troubled soul. Sorry if that’s not “juicy” enough for y’all but I have to tell it like it is. To whoever wrote this story… the man’s name was Jason Butler and he has lived in Dominical for over 20 years. His son DID NOT find him and he owns a surf “camp” not a surf shop.

    Pura vida laced with arsenic? Life is “laced” with whatever you say it is laced with. I choose my “pura vida” to be laced with beautiful nature and friendly people. Oh and no I didn’t just get off the boat, been here solid for 24 years, nationalized and the whole enchilada… Arsenic is everywhere if you look for it… You can replace the word “arsenic” in that sentence with “Pura vida” if you want. They are both true, you just have to make a choice.

    • disgusted

      Daryl, Thank you for the information. Sad it had to have his son see him this way. In my years here I have know many gringo’s and Tico’s who have taken their own life.

      • Heidi

        Lets be honest, a lot of people who move from up north to CR are running from something. I was. Its a place to start over, or so you think. Sometimes the troubles follow you. This is sad.

        • Daryl Smitts

          No matter where you go, there you are.

    • mhogan

      Truly regret that anyone has to take the road of suicide. I guess for that “troubled soul” Costa Rica just wasn’t that much of a Pura Vida. In China, there is a high rate of student suicide for the reason of failing to meet personal expectations. That, of course, can’t be said of Costa Rica — so I guess a “mas o menos” mentality does not fare any better in the “happiness” factor. But then again, this is an isolated incident, comparing apples to oranges.

  • Andrew

    Hey Karen is it me or are you the most negative person in the world?
    And what perfect country do you hail from?

    • Karen Mata

      Enjoy your freshly irrigated fruits and vegs here in CR.
      So your hands are turning green? A green thumb is Good!!

      Just some sarcasm to lighten your day, Andrew.
      Citizen of the world. Born on the Cape.

  • Andrew


    • Karen Mata

      Good Hope

  • disqus_deZh09p2NQ

    The truck was not crashed into a tree…. I was there. It was parked in a spot at the beach in a grove of trees.

  • Timothy Williams

    Hey guys,

    We just received an official statement from the OIJ. The incident was indeed a suicide, and we plan to publish a follow up story tomorrow.


    Tim Williams
    Inside Costa Rica

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