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Bostonian Strangled in Guanacaste’s Playa Potrero

January 15, 2010

Closing in on two weeks after Massachusetts resident John Joseph Scibeck was found dead in Costa Rica, the National Investigation Police (OIJ) have no clues and have named no suspects in what investigators consider a homicide case, Public Security Ministry officials said on Monday.

Scibeck, 67, arrived in Costa Rica on Dec. 28 and rented a villa in Playa Potrero where he was expected to vacation until March, his son Jonathan Scibeck said. Three days into his stay, Jonathan Scibeck received a phone call from a friend of his father in Costa Rica. His father’s body had been found along a barren road at 11 a.m.

Initially, officials believed he had died of natural causes. But a closer examination revealed that he had been choked.

OIJ officials said his throat showed “bruises comparable to a strangling.” Examiners did not find any other signs of foul play, officials said. Scibeck’s belongings, including his wallet, were still in his pocket and his room at the villa was undisturbed.

A friend in Playa Potrero, Kurt Dommers, told the daily The Boston Globe that he last saw Scibeck eating a plate of fruit at El Castillo, a bar that Dommers owns, on the morning of New Year’s Eve.

“He seemed perfect,” Dommers told the Boston daily.

Jonathan Scibeck did not want to comment on the investigation on Monday afternoon, but said he had been in touch with police and investigation officials in Costa Rica. Police officials said they would send any information about the case to the family as it unfolds.

John Scibeck came alone to Costa Rica and he had visited once before. “That’s how my father was,”  Jonathan Scibeck told The Tico Times. “He went everywhere alone. He didn’t have a wife or a girlfriend and he liked traveling.”

On Monday afternoon, Jonathan attended his father’s wake in Stoughton, Massachusetts, and prepared for the funeral on Tuesday evening.

“My father was a friendly guy and he was loved,” Jonathan said. “He left behind two sons who love him dearly and a grandchild on the way.”

–Mike McDonald

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