Costa Rica’s Public Security Ministry reported apprehending a Kansas man in the central Pacific town of Jacó, who had past convictions of child molestation in the United States.
“The thought right now is that we will revoke his tourist visa and deport him back to the U.S.,” Freddy Montero, vice minister of public security, told The Tico Times in an interview.
Montero reported that Kirk Owen, 56, was apprehended early Monday afternoon. Owen had entered the country on July 15 through Panama, according to Montero.
Immigration Police transported a handcuffed Owen to their main facility in San José later that afternoon. Owen covered his face with his T-shirt as two officers escorted him from a van to their office. Owen was sporting casual beach attire, a purple T-shirt, shorts and sneakers.
A spokesman for the Immigration Administration, Jossnan Murillo, confirmed that Interpol had issued a preventative alert for Owen, stemming from his past convictions in the U.S. Murillo said the Costa Rican government knew Owen was in Jacó, and he has not been formally accused of any sex crimes in Costa Rica.
However, locals in Jacó believe Owen should be investigated for his behavior in their community.
Doug Smith, a private investigator from the U.S. living and working in Costa Rica, said a nonprofit group paid him to track Owen when they learned he had entered the country.
“I was worried about him getting another victim over there in Jacó,” Smith told The Tico Times in a phone interview.
Smith said he had no trouble getting reports from Jacó on Owen, who weighs 400 pounds according to U.S. authorities, and drove around Jacó in a Porsche.
Smith put up posters with Owen’s photo online in an attempt to alert Jacó residents.
Owen is also facing an accusation of possessing a firearm while in Costa Rica, according to the news site crhoy.com. It is illegal for someone on a tourist visa to possess a gun while in Costa Rica.
Owen was living in the U.S. state of Florida prior to coming to Costa Rica. He has one conviction for child molestation from Oklahoma in 2002, according to the state of Florida. He has a previous sex crime conviction from 1987 from his home state of Kansas.
According to Oklahoma court records, Owen was sentenced to 20 years for the offense he committed in 2000, after pleading guilty to two charges of sexual molestation of a minor. The judge ruled Owen had completed his probation in 2006.
Costa Rican authorities transported Owen from Jacó to immigration facilities in San José’s northwestern La Uruca district, where he will be processed and deported, officials said.