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Friday, January 29th, 2016  |  USD: Buy 531.29 / Sell 543.92
20 years

Security video captures violent attack on Dutch couple at Costa Rica hotel


Henk and Carolien Peters moved to Costa Rica eight years ago to “pursue their dream of living in paradise,” but, Henk told ICR News by telephone on Thursday, “That dream turned into a nightmare” on Tuesday, when three armed robbers violently assaulted his wife.

The attack occurred only one day after another Dutch couple were found murdered on a hardwood plantation in the province of Puntarenas, near Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast, in a separate incident.

Editor’s note: Video follows at the end of the story.

January 7th, 2016 (ICR News) A security camera captured the scene on Tuesday as the Dutch husband-and-wife owners of an eco-lodge came under violent attack as part of a botched armed robbery on their business, the Heliconia Island Lodge located in Sarapiqui de Heredia.


Henk and Carolien Peters moved to Costa Rica eight years ago to “pursue their dream of living in paradise,” leaving behind their jobs and family back home.  But, Henk told ICR News by telephone on Thursday, “That dream turned into a nightmare” on Tuesday, when three armed robbers violently assaulted his wife.


In the video, a knife-wielding assailant can be seen attacking 47-year-old Carolien Peters from behind and wrestling her to the ground.


Once on the ground, Henk told ICR News, the assailant and another accomplice attempted to choke the woman to death while placing a gag in her mouth.  She also suffered knife wounds to her hands and back and blunt-force trauma to the head. The third suspect “watched on as they were trying to murder her,” Mr. Peters told ICR News.


“They tried to murder my wife,” Henk Peters told ICR News via telephone, who said he was upstairs washing dishes after some German guests had finished their meals from the lodge’s restaurant, where his wife was attacked. “It was attempted murder, they were really trying to kill her.”


“I heard a struggle, screams and more screams,” from his wife downstairs, Mr. Peters told ICR News.  Mr. Peters and the family dog went rushing downstairs, and the three assailants fled, making their getaway in an older-model green Toyota Tercel.


Perhaps more shockingly, the three assailants had actually paid for and spent two nights at the lodge before launching their assault, though Mr. Peters described to ICR News being suspicious of the trio shortly after their arrival.  Mr. Peters told ICR News that one of the suspects had indicated that they were from Mexico when filling out a check-in form, but that he did not check the men’s identification, and others with whom he has shown the video believe that the men are Costa Rican.


One of the assailants left a backpack in the cabina in which the trio was staying, which when opened “contained items one would use in a robbery,” Mr. Peters said.


The couple notified the local police and the Judicial Investigative Police (OIJ), who responded to the scene.


Mr. Peters, however said he was taking his video – and story – public because he feels a disinterest on the part of the OIJ to properly investigate the case and apprehend the suspects.


“They [the OIJ] weren’t even interested in the video,” Mr. Peters told ICR News, who is hoping that the public can help identify at least one of the suspects from the video images. Mr. Peters said that the OIJ “did nothing” to investigate the crime scene.


Sadly, Mr. Peters tells ICR News that the incident has convinced the couple to move home to their native country, and they are already making arrangements to do so, despite having not sold their eco lodge, which has been on the market for several years.


“It will probably mean a huge financial blow […] but our lives are precious to us and we have therefore decided to leave,” Mr. Peters says.


Mrs. Peters required stitches for her knife wounds but is expected to recover from the attack.


The incident occurred only one day after another Dutch couple were found murdered on a hardwood plantation in the province of Puntarenas, near Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast.


Schokkende beelden voor ons. 3 personen die mijn vrouw probeerde te vermoorden. Wie kent deze personen. Ze rijden in een groene Toyota tersel. Neemt u contact op met de politie of met de OIJ. Imagenes inpactentes para nosotros. Tres personas que trataron de asesinar a mi esposa. Quien sabe esta gente conducen en un Toyota tersel verde. Por favor pongase en contacto con la policia y OIJ .Heliconia Island Sarapiquí.

Posted by Henk Peters on Wednesday, January 6, 2016

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  • John Dungan

    If only we had known then, what we know now. I feel for this couple, because we left CR with our home unsold, also.

  • Biz Duck

    Always keep a bucket of acid nearby, then tell the Keystone Cops (OIJ) to follow the smoke after you douse them

    • richard schlinder

      Excellent idea Biz Duck.

    • elenitatsgirl

      ha ha ha

  • John

    Pretty poor video quality…I was fortunate to have sold my home and leave there 3 years ago after spending 7 years in the Central Valley. Beautiful country, but was getting worst with crime, most of unsolved, or not even bothering with an investigation. But what this couple just went through, I’d would just get out of there asap…it won’t get any better soon. One year I invited 7 of my friends from abroad, they rented a van, stopped to get groceries and drinks to bring to my house, they return back to the van, which was locked to find all their belongings, laptops, passports, clothes, gone. They were sure someone had a key and followed them, most likely from the rental company. OIJ did not seem too interested in the case. That did not go well with me, and that’s the day I decided I’ve had enough of this paradise. Sorry to all that have no issues with living there, and my bit of criticism.

    • Karen Mata

      Arrived CR in 91. Returned with family and purchased in 95.

      Listed my two homes in 2011. Fortunately sold them both that year and moved south..

      • Buffalo Bill

        You are smart. You sold before it got extremely hard to sell. Oh selling is not too hard if you want to give your hard earned property away for a song.
        Now there are so many properties out there for sale at low prices. I mean really beautiful properties, CHEAP! After all this country is absolutely beautiful, it’s the people that mess it up. Look, most readers here are of European descent. Educated and accustomed to living in much different , advanced societies. Societies where the rule of law means something and where there are consequences for bad behavior, thievery, noise pollution. River and land pollution. I see Ticos pour used oil directly into these once pristine rivers. Running toilet tubes directly into the rivers.
        Do you realize the water under one of the 1st bridges you cross as you enter Jaco comes from the sewage of Central Valley? It is an actual sewer full of shit running directly into the ocean next to that big name Hotel there on the N. end beach. The beach goers of Jaco are swimming in raw sewage . Anyway I could go on and on. These people are hundreds of years behind European people and actually will NEVER amount to a hill of beans. They have the good fortune to have been born into this incredible country and now that “Gringos” are bailing out they will go downhill FAST!!! To Hell in a handbasket as it were. Good riddance.

        • Karen Mata

          CR, where the affluent meet the effluent.

          Chinchilla heralded a new era that was a bridge too far for this gringo.

          That´s not to say though that I don´t dearly miss those decades in CR.

          The Argentine default of 01 quickly brought a tripling of the $ exchange, and presently it´s 15/1 black market.

          Should that type of change come to CR, I´ll be back in Rohrmoser.

    • disgusted

      A few I know are trying to sell their property. Feel trapped until they do. Even my Tica friend she has her house and moving to the USA…. She has a 5 year visa so she hopes to out of here ASAP. I might be doing the same thing.

  • Anthony

    Obviously someone wants to buy an Eco Lodge cheap. It seems as if someone was intentionally trying to run them off.

  • Banana Republican

    The same as those isis pos.

  • richard schlinder

    The lack of interest in the video by OIJ is appalling.

    • SDPUS

      There will never be solutions when their “most prestigious” investigative body is riddled with corruption from top to bottom. They could care less about crimes to foreigners. And when they show any different, they certainly aren’t genuine in there wanting to help. Pure showmanship, they can’t wait for victims to leave. What really gets them, is when those who have been abused actually stay to fight back. Giving up is the easy way out here. Ensuring that changes are made to these corrupt systems, while that is what really needs to be. Fight the corrupt powers till they are embarrassed into obscurity. Call people out! Name names!

  • JCR54

    Los Larones posible Matar otra hollandaise parjea

    • Buffalo Bill

      Ellos nesessita busca otro mal jente. como Ivo Henfling de Go Dutch Realty, El esta un muy mal hombre

  • Ken Morris

    Since Mr. Peters is accusing the OIJ of relative indifference to investigating the crime and apprehending the perpetrators–and IRC is reporting his complaints–I hope that you, Tim, will follow up on this story and tell us whether or not the OIJ is guilty as charged.

    At issue here is the common complaint among expats that law enforcement is indifferent to their criminal victimization. Maybe this complaint is true, but when we always only hear it from the victims (and frankly victims in the US frequently complain about indifferent law enforcement there too) it’s only fair to follow up (and maybe ask the OIJ) to find out whether or to what extent this is true.

    Plus, not to minimize this crime, were I an investigating officer with a full caseload, I could see how I might not prioritize it either. Mr. Peters claims it was attempted murder, and I would too if I were in his or his wife’s position, but it frankly looks more like the thugs were attempting to tie her up and keep her from screaming in order to rob the place. This is hardly good, but it is a common robbery strategy in Costa Rica and isn’t attempted murder. Since the guys were only armed with a knife and Ms. Peters, who resisted, only required a few stitches, I seriously doubt that an attempted murder charge would fly. We’re talking assault. Add though that the robbery attempt was foiled, so the only crime is assault. But then there’s the problem that the trio spent the night in the place. I am not saying that this is how it went down, but thinking like a defense attorney, I would raise questions about possible prior arguments between Ms. Peters and the guys, and if possible put one or more of the guys on the stand to testify that she provoked it. OK, odds are that’s utter baloney, but it’s a good defense. Throw in that the backpack with the robbery stuff was conveniently discovered by the victims after the fact–so they could have planted the robbery stuff–and were I an investigating officer, I’d have to admit that I didn’t have a super strong case. Realistically, apprehending these guys and running them through the courts might result in result in one or two or them getting like six months in the slammer (and I suspect that this is all the more severe it would be in Holland too), so the OIJ people may be right not to prioritize it.

    However, just from the story, there seems enough there that I wouldn’t be comfortable with the OIJ ignoring it. I’d like to see some follow up by them, as well as news follow up to know whether or not they do. It may not be an especially serious crime from the standpoint of prosecution and punishment, but it’s definitely serious from the standpoint of the victims. And it shouldn’t be winked at.

    Finally, to the Peters: Please reconsider leaving. I realize that this sucks, but you did survive. You can take more security precautions in the future and be fine. Part of being an expat is taking the bad with the good, and if the decent people leave, only the scoundrels will be left. Costa Rica needs people willing to take a stand against these lowlife Tico punks.

    • duke ster

      I don’t concur my friend, these people are victims of a horrible crime where they are sure it was attempted murder and in their minds they are scarred for life. Until you have been a victim in something like this you won’t realize just how horrific it is and how they actually felt close to death. That you cannot change with reasoning and logic.

    • Chris Thomas

      What is wrong with you Ken? Defending the scum bag legal system in this country, it seems like you lived there long enough you should no better, the OIJ and their legal system is always guilty until proven way way way innocent, they have a horrible track record and this woman could have easily been killed is a miracle she is not, a cop in the states who shoot a person just for holding a knife, you are trying to minimize a huge problem in Costa Rica.

  • tab ricci

    Shame, this is the 2nd time that the killers mistook the evil Dutchman. They are actually searching for this crooked wanker who built homes on top of the old town dump in Atenas. They are perhaps former home owners who were tricked by this monster. We at the international police agency have information that Ivo Henfling is responsible for these home sales on top of the dump. ASSASSINS PLEASE NOTE*

  • Buffalo Bill

    Shame, this is the 2nd time that the killers mistook the evil Dutchman.
    They are actually searching for this crooked wanker who built homes on
    top of the old town dump in Atenas. They are perhaps former home owners
    who were tricked by this monster. We at IPA ( the international police agency)
    have information that Ivo Henfling is responsible for these home sales
    on top of the dump. ASSASSINS PLEASE NOTE*

    • disgusted

      “ASSASSINS PLEASE NOTE*” ….. Bill what in the world are you implying?

      • Buffalo Bill

        disgusted, I don’t know sir, my comments seem to have been deleted. What did I write? Can you repeat it please?

        • // Timothy Williams

          Bill, your previous comment was deleted because you openly incited violence – with your call for “”ASSASSINS PLEASE NOTE.” First comment we have had to delete in many, many months. With respect, don’t do it again, please. We have a huge degree of tolerance here in our comments as I am sure anyone will note, but we won’t accept that. Period.

          • Buffalo Bill

            Ok Timothy, I am sorry to be thought of as inciting violence. It was entirely uncalled for to actually incite violence even though it was not a serious attempt to incite violence I absolutely see how it could be thought of as such. I didn’t realize the extent of my comments. Of course it was a joke because I didn’t imagine for even a minute that any assassins would pay any attention to my comments as they surely have their own agenda which wouldn’t be swayed by someone they didn’t know or have any dealings with. However I can see how my comments could be misconstrued as serious. So I hereby denounce any attempts either real or imagined as to inviting or inciting any violence against or aimed at anyone either real or imagined now and in the future.

          • // Timothy Williams

            Thank you for your reply and understanding. These are issues that we have to take very seriously, which I think you now understand. Your comment was the first we have had to delete in many, many months. We are all for complete free speech, but we will not and cannot (even from a legal standpoint) allow any comments to stand on our site that even imply violence, in any form. We appreciate your understanding. It had nothing to do with “censorship,” I think you can tell by our comments section that we are extremely tolerant in allowing people to express their views. Please just keep this in mind for the future. Best, Tim

          • Buffalo Bill

            Absolutely understood !!! Sir ! Not cool by me.

          • Buffalo Bill

            I am trying to delete a comment made by me to JCR54 but am unable to do so ( in case it is offensive to your publication)

          • // Timothy Williams

            Just took care of it for you. Thanks.

          • // Timothy Williams

            Side note, for your own safety – such comments can land you in extreme legal trouble in Costa Rica, including prison. You should be thankful we deleted them, to be honest.

          • Buffalo Bill

            I just hope they don’t find out that I am actually a disgruntled employee of the Fat Dutchman. ( I’d hate to lose my job over this)

  • Chris Thomas

    If she got killed no justice would have been done if she or her husband defended themselves they would probably face criminal charges and their life made a living hell. Please people boycott CR, your life and your loved one’s life’s are worth nothing there.

    • Buffalo Bill

      Chris you speak like a person who knows exactly how Costa Rica works, I mean you have hit the proverbial nail on the head. If people would actually take heed of remarks and warnings from persons such as yourself who speak from experience.

  • elenitatsgirl

    So they rented a cabin to people they didn’t check any IDs or passports? neither ask them to pay up front for the costs of the cabin rental?

  • disgusted

    All the expats worldwide who want to buy a place and retire here, REALLY? Justice system that admits 96% of crime goes unpunished.

    Prisons are over crowed need to build several more to send a message and lock up violent criminal. I Moved off my Quinta and farm now live in a Condo here.

    At road block the police confiscate our legally owned and license weapons , we then become defenseless sheep…

    However, making plans of moving on. I investigated Spain as well were would I live in the USA. it’s time to move.

    • Buffalo Bill

      disgusted you probably saved your life by that smart move away from your Quinta and into a much safer condo. So many Quinta dwellers are being picked off and killed by these savages. It’s almost like the Indians did to the settlers of the old west . Is scalping next?
      Fight back and they will put you in prison with trumped up laws designed to get rid of the Gringo and to steal his property.
      Returning to the USA is a really good option. There are sooo many beautiful areas in the USA. Beautiful clean rivers in the mountains of the Carolinas and that part of America. The Rockies, WOW! And it’s SAFE man. Safe. You won’t get attacked and have your property stolen by trumped up laws. I mean living in Hillbilly Holler is better than Tico shitville. At least the laws are in place. And they mean something.
      Blue Ridge Mountains ,West Virginia,…Shenandoah River. Rocky Mountain High,… Colorado.

  • Fernando Gerdano

    Why do Costa Ricans hate the Dutch so much??

    • Buffalo Bill

      Possibly Fernando,

      Because there is a Dutch real estate agent , Ivo Henfling of “Go Dutch Realty” who is suspected of building and selling homes on top of the old Atenas town dump which he covered up. Many foreigners were taken in by this scheme. –I saw another post on here talking about the same issue but it seems to have been deleted. I wonder why comments are deleted?

      • // Timothy Williams

        Bill, your previous comment was deleted because you openly incited violence – with your call for “”ASSASSINS PLEASE NOTE.” First comment we have had to delete in many, many months. Don’t do it again, please.

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