July 22nd, 2014 (InsideCostaRica.com) After more than five months, there have yet to be any arrests in the case of Kurt Heigis, the U.S. man who was murdered in February near La Fortuna de San Carlos.
Unknown assailants intercepted Heigis as he traveled in his vehicle on a gravel road about 4 kilometers from La Fortuna. The assailants slit Heigis’ throat on the side of the road, killing him.
Robbery did not appear to be a motive in the slaying, as the assailants did not steal any valuables, including $1,900 in cash that Heigis had with him. Authorities also ruled out the possibility that the crime was drug-related.
Traveling with Heigis was a 30-year-old Nicaraguan woman, to whom Heigis was married without his family’s knowledge. She said she was spared in the attack by begging for her life.
Heigis’ daughter, Joanna Heigis-Mong, told Inside Costa Rica on Sunday that the past five months have been a “nightmare” and she is left with only unanswered questions.
“Some days are better than others, while there are also some really bad days. I can only speak for my immediate family, but I know my older sister has struggled too. Of course this is not easy for anyone, in fact it’s really a nightmare. It is one thing to lose someone you love, but it is a whole different story when they are brutally slain and viciously taken away. You are left with NO damn answers, just questions. This weekend would have been our annual bike (motorcycle) ride so it has been rough,” she said.
Inside Costa Rica: Do you believe the case is being thoroughly investigated?
Joanna Heigis-Mong: No, I do not. I feel they think, ‘whoopee, it is another American murdered. It has been swept under the rug. Kurt was someone’s son, brother, uncle, dad, grandpa, great-grandpa and friend.
Inside Costa Rica: Describe the contact you have had with the OIJ and/or other Costa Rica police and investigators. Have you found them competent and concerned for delivering justice in your father’s case?
Joanna Heigis-Mong: Contact? One freaking time in May – May! Months later. And this only because I demanded it through the embassy! I have sent them questions and inquiries, as well as ideas of who they should look at and nothing!
Inside Costa Rica: Tell us about your father – what kind of man was he? Did he seem to be enjoying his life here prior to his murder?
Joanna Heigis-Mong: Dad loved life. He enjoyed outdoors, landscaping, riding his motorcycle, horseback riding, and he loved Costa Rica. He enjoyed going there every year; he said there was so much beauty all around and in their culture. It was more relaxed. He was happy he found a house to buy and fix up, he was thinking of selling it to buy another.
Inside Costa Rica: Do you believe authorities could be doing more to bring your father’s killer or killers to justice?
Joanna Heigis-Mong: Of course I do. There are too many things that are right in front of them, and I feel like they are hiding or protecting them. I speak for myself – so understand that I am angry.
Inside Costa Rica: Have there been any agencies or individuals in Costa Rica that you have found helpful since your father’s death?
Joanna Heigis-Mong: I am working with a close US agency that I would rather not say. I am thankful for them because she is always checking in, asking what they can do. The Embassy has showed sympathy and they are always trying to reassure me that it takes time. Maybe so. I know justice is not always swift, however I think it should be at least moving forward.
Inside Costa Rica: Given your experience of the last five months, do you have faith in the Costa Rican judicial system? Do you believe arrests will eventually be made?
Joanna Heigis-Mong: According to a web site, Costa Rica has a statute of limitations on murder* , which is a shocker because the US does not. I believe in justice, even more so in karma. Karma can be a real [expletive].
*See editor’s note.
Inside Costa Rica: Is there anything else you would like to tell or ask of our readers?
Joanna Heigis-Mong: If anyone knows anything, please come forward to the proper authorities. Imagine if this was your family, wouldn’t you want answers? We need them. There is no real closure, it is like waiting for an end and having no control over it in any way, shape or form. It’s maddening.
Editor’s notes: There is indeed a statute of limitation on murder in Costa Rica. The statute is 10 to 30 years, depending upon interpretation and circumstances (premeditation, for example.)
We sincerely appreciate Joanna taking the time to answer our questions, which itself is surely painful. Please understand as well that some questions have gone unasked as they could potentially affect the investigation.