An American aid worker found stabbed to death in a hotel in San José, Costa Rica, may have been killed by a former lover, newspapers in that country are reporting.
The body of Sondra Lynn, 45, of Merritt Island, Florida, was found by a hotel cleaning woman on the bed of her room stabbed to death on Thursday.
A 25-year-old man in the town of Coronado, which is four hours south of San José, is believed to have stabbed the American aid worker 15 times, according to Diario Extra, a tabloid newspaper.
Lynn organized medical missions in Costa Rica, Guatemala and Nicaragua for the Florida-based Vida Volunteer organization, which helps provide health and veterinary care. The group sent out a statement on Friday identifying her as 46-year-old Sondra Lynn Elizondo, according to the Associated Press.
The Diario Extra, citing unnamed sources, reported that the man, whose name has not been released by Central American authorities, had been Lynn’s lover and was arrested with personal items of Lynn’s in his possession, including her cell phone, clothes, jewelry and a credit card, which he used after her death.
The Daily Mail in the U.K. is reporting that the pair was scheduled to fly to Nicaragua together on Saturday but had an altercation late Wednesday night.
A source told the Daily Mail that the cleaning lady of the boutique hotel found the body around 11:30 a.m., when she entered the room. According to the source, Lynn “was naked, lay on the bed covered in blood. There was a pillow over her face which was also soaked with blood. She was stabbed 15 times with a knife, with wounds to her neck, face, chest and shoulder.”
According to the English publication, Lynn had been in a casual relationship with her alleged murderer for two years, and they stayed in the hotel room for four days before her death.
‘Workers at the hotel saw them coming and going over the next few days,” a source told the Daily News, “holding hands and bringing back bottles of wine to share in their room.”
Lynn was divorced with two children. Her older brother, Greg Payne, 51, spoke to the Daily Mail. 'We just can't believe that a horrifying thing like that happened,” he said. “She's a great person, a great humanitarian. She was always thinking of others.”
"Sondra's death is a tragic loss for all of us who considered her a close friend, as well as a loss for Vida Volunteer, the underserved communities we help and everyone else who knew her," the aid group's communications manager, Ana Salas, told the AP. "Sondra dedicated her life to her children and this organization. Our heart is heavy at her loss, but we are more committed than ever to continue her legacy."
According to the Vida Volunteer statement, Lynn was a Minnesota native who served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Costa Rica from 1994 to 1996.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.