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Swimming Party Horror – Battered Bodies of 7 Murdered Teens Found Near Lake Gatun

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Swimming Party Horror – Battered Bodies of 7 Murdered Teens Found Near Lake Gatun


Posted 18/07/2020

The bodies of seven youths,  three girls and four boys aged 13 to 16  believed to have been bludgeoned to death on their way to a swimming party in Lake  Gatun were found on Saturday morning  July 18, in a wooded area of the José Domingo Espinar residential complex in the township of Cristóbal in Colón.

They were reported missing on Friday by their parents, after they had gone out to bathe in Lake Gatún at noon, with six other teenagers.

Nine of the group are from the Valle Verde sector of Puerto Escondido, and the rest from Panama City, who were visiting.

According to preliminary investigations, five bodies were inside a bunker and two outside.

The discovery was made by the relatives after undertaking a search although they had already made a complaint about the disappearances to the Police.

According to the first statements of those who managed to escape, they were on their way to the lake when they were intercepted by two armed men. They were then stripped of their cell phones and other belongings.

The bodies were reported to have been badly beaten Police found some bullet casings at the scene. But Public Ministry investigations will determine if they died from blows from bullets



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Suspect in swimming party massacre arrested


Posted 19/07/2020

The National Police, and the Public Ministry, have captured a man allegedly involved in the massacre of seven young people from a group of 13  who were heading for a swim in Lake Gatun on Friday afternoon,  January 17.

He was arrested in the Achiote sector on the Costa Abajo in Colon province.

The suspect was due to appear before a judge of guarantees on Sunday. Conflicting reports and rumors have been circulating in local media about the motives of the murders of the mostly teen-aged four women and three men, from the Valle Verde community.

Preliminary reports detailed that the victims were shot, and that showed signs of having been brutally beaten but results of forensic examinations are still awaited.

The bodies were found in and around a WW II bunker in a wooded area of the former US Fort Gulick home of the notorious "School of the Americas" operated, it also hosted the 8th. Group of Special Forces and Infantry Brigade 193.

Five bodies were inside the bunker and two outside near the entrance. The victims were killed with beatings and 9-millimeter shots.

  The massacre came in the midst of a dramatic escalation in gang-related homicides -including four on the same afternoon-  and brought various high-level authorities to the crime scene including criminal prosecutor Adolfo Pineda by the Minister of Security, Juan Pino and National Police Director Jorge Miranda.

Prosecutor Adolfo Pineda announced that so far there is no relationship with drug issues and the investigation team is working on the issue of the possible motive.



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Los detalles de las autopsias y las hipótesis sobre la masacre en Colón

Las autoridades entrevistan a los seis jóvenes que sobrevivieron y revisan sus celulares. Ayer fue detenido un sospechoso que residía en el mismo lugar donde vivían las siete víctimas.
Juan Manuel Díaz y Migdalia Grinard
20 jul 2020 - 12:00 AM


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Sobrevivientes identifican a acusado por masacre en Colón

Una jueza de garantías validó la aprehensión e imputación del sospechoso, que de acuerdo con las pesquisas conocía a sus víctimas. La fiscalía tiene seis meses para investigar.
Juan Manuel Díaz C.
21 jul 2020 - 12:00 AM

Moderator comment: Below is an unedited automated translation of the above news article.


Survivors Identify Defendant for Massacre in Colón

A judge of guarantees validated the apprehension and imputation of the suspect, who according to the investigations knew his victims. The prosecution has six months to investigate.

Juan Manuel Díaz C.
Jul 21, 2020 - 12:00 AM

The process is carried out in accordance with the rules of the accusatory criminal system. The Prosecutor's Office is looking for a second suspect. Migdalia Grinard

Survivors of the murders of seven youths whose bodies were found in a bunker in the old Fort Espinar in Colón identified the suspect arrested last Sunday by authorities as one of the material authors of the massacre.

Sources of the Public Ministry confirmed to this newspaper that, in effect, thanks to the testimony of these people, and even of the parents of some of the victims, the judge of guarantees Itzel Chu validated the apprehension of the suspect, as well as the accusation formulated by the Office of Homicides and Feminicides of the province of Colón.

The suspect, whose identity was not disclosed to the media, is accused of the alleged commission of the crimes of murder, feminicide, robbery and deprivation of liberty.

According to the sources consulted by this newspaper, among the elements used as evidence by the prosecutor Adolfo Mejía to impute these crimes to the suspect, there are, in addition to the statement of the survivors, the cell phones of several of the victims, who were found in the residence of the accused, in the community of Achiote, Costa Abajo de Colón.

At the conclusion of the video-hearing of the case, which began at 3:00 p.m. and it lasted until 8:45 p.m., the judge of guarantees Itzel Chu maintained the arrest of the accused and gave the prosecution six months to complete the investigations.

In this case, the prosecution is also on the trail of a second suspect, who is believed to be responsible for the seven murders along with the detainee.

The crimes were perpetrated last Friday, after a group of 13 young people went to Gatun Lake to take a bath.

The victims, four women and three men, were residents of the Valle Verde community, while the six survivors live in Villas del Caribe (Puerto Escondido).

The bodies of the youths, whose ages ranged from 15 to 25 years old, were located the following day.

The authorities suspect that the young people were watched by criminals while bathing, since this sector is used for drug trafficking.

However, the motive for the killings has not yet been established. However, it is known that the detainee knew some of his victims because he had lived in Valle Verde.

The suspect was brought before the courts yesterday to a hearing to validate the apprehension and the accusation. Migdalia Grinard

Violence and family disintegration

The spiral of violence experienced in some regions of the country is directly related to family disintegration, gangs, and loss of values.

This is the opinion of the criminologist Marco Aurelio Álvarez, who assures that those who commit crimes like those of Colón are generally people who in one way or another may be linked to gangs or who have lost their values as individuals.

In accordance with its criteria, Panama has experienced in recent years an acceleration in the perpetration of violent crimes, which demonstrate the lack of human values on the part of its perpetrators.




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Youth massacre victims shot in head execution-style


The crime scene

Posted 20/07/2020

The seven young victims  of the Cristóbal massacre on Friday.  were all shot in the head execution-style according to autopsies by the Institute of Forensic Medicine and Forensic Sciences (Imelcf)  The dead included two pairs of sisters who were high school students.

 The bodies were found on Saturday, July 18, in a bunker used by the notorious School of the Americas,  near the José Domingo Espinar residential complex in the township of Cristóbal, Colon.

They were part of a group of 13 who went for an afternoon swim in Lake Gatun. Six survivors are assisting the police with their investigations, including a crime scene reconstruction, following the path they took to the lake where they were reportedly robbed by two armed and hooded men. Theories seeking to establish a motive for the killings continue to circulate and include  “jealousy” over the switching of boyfriends.

One suspect reportedly identified from a photograph, has been arrested but his defense lawyer claims mistaken identity.

Theories of links to drug trafficking have been discounted. None of the group of 13 have criminal records or ties  to gangs,

Nine were from the province of Colón and four from Panama. One of the versions of the event indicates that those who were out of the water - about six - were able to escape and reach the Margarita police station. Apparently one of the attackers was known to one of the victims because he called him by name.

One version that indicates that the assassins asked who was from the area and that is why they would have released those who did not live nearby. Those killed were all from Valle Verde in Puerto Escondido.

The survivors are receiving assistance from experts of the Protection of Victims, and Witnesses Unit (UPAVIT) of the Public Ministry.

Among the victims were two minor sisters: one was 15 years old and the other was 16. Two older sisters were  21 and 18 years

One of the murdered boys, 17, was a Colombian national and had arrived in the country before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in March.



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Tribunal mantiene arresto aimputado por crimen múltiple

Juan Manuel Díaz C.
25 jul 2020 - 12:34 AM


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Capturan a un segundo sospechoso en el caso de la masacre de 7 jóvenes en Colón; la audiencia será este miércoles

Migdalia Grinard
04 ago 2020 - 05:35 PM


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Massacre suspect fears for his life


Posted 05/08/2020

The  second suspect  in the massacre of seven young people  who went out for an afternoon swim in Lake Gatun and were killed in a WW II bunker  is  in preventive detention after a hearing in Colon on Wednesday, August 5. and has asked  for protection as his life has been threatened by another person who was arrested  earlier

The 20-year-old nicknamed Ninito "fears for his life," and asked to be taken to a prison other than that of Colón.

He was apprehended by authorities on Tuesday, August 4  after he was delivered by his mother to whom he had confessed.  He lives in the Valle Verde sector, in the township of Cristóbal where the victims came from.

On July 18, in the wooded area of José Domingo Espinar, seven young people, between 15 and 23 years of age, were found dead, hock waves  across the county the country

According to the recorded facts, on Friday, July 17, 13 young residents of the Valle Verde community left in a group bound for Lake Gatún.

Only six returned from the group. The rest were killed. The bodies (of four women and three men) were found by relatives t on the morning of Saturday, July 18.

On Wednesday,  August 5 a third arrest was reported. A hearing is pending.



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First massacre suspect released 2 others detained


The crime scene

Posted 07/08/2020

The first person arrested in the investigation of the massacre in of seven young people, on a swimming trip in Lake Gatun was released from preventive detention on  Friday, August 7.

Colón Guarantee judge, Nelson Quijada, changed, the precautionary measure that had been applied to the first suspect in a WW II bunker in the old Espinar fort. Another six young people survived the event on July 17.

Miguel Almanza, 18, who initially had a provisional arrest measure must now sign on the 30th of each month. He was also prohibited from leaving the country and from approaching the survivors.

The hearing to review the precautionary measure was requested by defense attorney José Antonio Moncada who had  produced nearly  a score  of witnesses to certify that his client was far from the crime scene at the time of the killings

Almanza was apprehended on the night of Saturday, July 18 after a police operation in Achiote de la Costa Abajo. On Monday, July 20, he was charged with the alleged homicide, femicide, robbery and deprivation of liberty.

Two other accused, are in preventive detention. Reynaldo Cuadra aka ‘El Rey', 25, who was seized on Thursday and  Jan Carlos Hernández  aka  'Niñito' who was taken by his mother to turn himself in, on Wednesday. He asked to be kept in a different prison from the other accused as he feared for his life.

An autopsy report by experts from the Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences indicates that the youths were executed by a shot to the head.

Hernández accused 'Rey' of having shot the victims and attempted to rape two sisters and then murdered them in cold blood. When he was apprehended, he was wearing a watch of one of the victims.

'Rey' and 'Niñito' had seized at gunpoint of two cell phones, two watches, a chain, two Bluetooth speakers, and less than $100.

According to the Directorate of Judicial Investigation (DIJ), the defendant previously had 3 homicide investigations they detained him several times, but without evidence, he was released.

The authorities have testimonies of a protected witness who said that the day of the crime he saw 'Rey' and 'Niñito' follow the victims who had gone to bathe in Gatún Lake, and then return as if nothing had happened.

El Siglo reports that the Police,  already knew that 'Rey' and 'Niñito' were involved in the massacre, but 18 days passed before their arrest.



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