Published November 17, 2014
PANAMA CITY (AP) — Authorities said they recovered three more bodies Tuesday on property owned by a jailed U.S. man who prosecutors say has confessed to killing five fellow Americans to get their money and property in a Panamanian resort area.
Jose Pachard, deputy director of the Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences, said the remains were found with the help of information provided by the suspect, William Dathan Holbert.
He said searchers found the bodies of an adult man, adult woman and child on the grounds of a hostel operated by Holbert. Two other bodies were found earlier, touching off a search for Holbert and his wife.
Tests were planned to identify the latest remains. On Sunday, prosecutors quoted Holbert as admitting he killed a U.S. man named Mike Brown, his wife and small son about three years ago and buried them on his property.
The two other bodies were identified previously as Cheryl Lynn Hughes, a native of St. Louis, Missouri, who had lived in Panama 10 years and was reported missing in late March, and Bo Icelar, who disappeared in late November and was described by a friend as being from Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Panamanian authorities said Holbert and his wife, Laura Michelle Reese, had been charged with murder in the deaths of Hughes and Icelar.
Humberto Mas, director of the forensics institute, said Holbert refused on Tuesday to undergo a psychological analysis and asked for legal assistance.
Officials in the U.S. state of North Carolina have said Holbert disappeared about six years ago after he divorced his wife, sold his landscaping business and filed for bankruptcy. Holbert is alleged to have sold a house he didn't own and a car he stole, and police say he used aliases to elude authorities in at least six states.