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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Officials not certain if foreigners are targets of kidnapping ring

By The Star Staff

Puerto Rico Police Commissioner Antonio López Figueroa said Monday that he’s still not certain if a criminal organization operating between Canóvanas and Loíza is dedicated to hiring kidnappers to target foreign visitors to the island.

“It’s too early for that,” López Figueroa said in response to questions from reporters, referring to the discovery of the remains of 30-year-old Colombian contractor John James Bolaños Gómez last Tuesday in Loíza.

The police commissioner said that since the identification of Bolaños Gómez, who was reported missing on Jan. 26, occurred last Wednesday, now the investigation has taken a new angle.

“That’s when we started to see who he was with, what people he hung out with,” López Figueroa said. “But to say that it was a gang striking a bargain that is dedicated to that [kidnapping], is very premature.”

According to press reports, Bolaños Gómez left his residence in the Mansiones de Vista Mar Marina urbanization in Carolina to perform an estimate for a job installing tiles in Loíza’s Las Cuevas neighborhood.

The contractor’s vehicle was recovered on Feb. 8 in Canóvanas.

The incident is similar to one involving Dominican contractor Yohauris Hiches Frías, who disappeared on Sept. 8 of last year in the San Isidro neighborhood of Canóvanas, where he allegedly went to meet a woman. In that case, some women reportedly have asked for money in exchange for Hiches Frías’ release, but so far he has not appeared.

In addition, Colombian Eddie Xavier Morales Rodríguez was reported missing on July 22, when he left his mother’s residence in Santurce, to do favors for his mother in a job as an Uber driver. His bullet-riddled vehicle was found burned on July 23 on highway PR-187 in the El Jobo sector of Loíza’s Medianía Baja neighborhood.

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