The body of 49-year-old Sondra Lynn Elizondo was found dead in a love hotel from what can only be branded as a crime of passion.
Elizondo lives in Florida and was the co-founder and director of VIDA Volunteer, a nonprofit organization that provides dental, medical, and veterinary services to underdeveloped communities in Central America.
A hotel maid at Casa 69 in La California, San Jose, entered the victim’s room only to find a gory scene and blood-spattered walls.
Elizondo’s naked body was found lying in a pool of blood on the bed, a pillow over her face and her clothes strewn across the floor. She also had multiple stab wounds.
Authorities said that the scene did not have evidence of forcible entry, suggesting that the killer was someone she trusted.
“We are trying to identify the man who accompanied her to the hotel, the man who she ate and drank with,” said Michael Soto, a detective from the Office of Judicial Investigation.
Upon inspection of the crime scene, police found out that the victim was raped before being killed. The killer strangled her with a bed sheet and used a pillow to suffocate her.
Her last days
Elizondo arrived in Costa Rica on December 5, Saturday, and was reportedly picked up by her 25-year-old boyfriend. She was in the country to fulfill duties related to VIDA Volunteer.
The couple spent four nights together at Casa 69, a love hotel frequently visited by foreigners as the bars nearby are teeming with prostitutes. The victim is known to stay at the hotel whenever she visits the country.
Sources told Diario Extra that they heard the couple engage in a heated argument inside the room. After several minutes of silence, a woman’s scream was heard again followed by another silence. The suspect escaped through the hotel’s emergency exit with the victim’s belongings and boarded a cab.
Elizondo’s friends told the police that her boyfriend was a very jealous man who forbid her to speak to anybody. She also paid for the expenses when they are together.
Condolences have been pouring in from the countless people she and her organization helped.
“Sondra was a devoted mother, loyal friend and caring daughter. She was a great inspiration and always passionate about helping others and making a positive difference. Vida Volunteer is the legacy Sondra leaves behind and we are more committed than ever to keeping her dream alive,” VIDA Volunteer wrote on its Facebook page.
Elizondo left behind two children, her parents, and a brother.
Suspect’s shopping spree
Police tracked the suspect, Elizondo’s 25-year-old boyfriend, after he used the victim’s credit card. The suspect was arrested on Saturday at his home in Coronado, where the victim’s clothes and jewelry were also found.
Costa Rican media reported that the two shared some wine on Tuesday night and that Elizondo wanted to break up with the suspect.