NICARAGUA NEWS – A Nicaraguan court has convicted a man of murder for the April death of Wilson resident Karen Colclough. La Prensa reported that the court found that Fernando Antonio Aburto Reyes, 35, strangled Colclough during an aggravated robbery and rape.
The Jackson Hole Daily reported in April that Aburto was caught after he sold Colclough’s camera for US$27.
On Wednesday, as news of the conviction spread among Colclough’s friends in Jackson Hole, her brother had just flown into town to clear out her storage unit in Alpine.
Mike Colclough, of New Hampshire, had just heard the news from Nicaragua and said it wasn’t the solace some people might expect.
“I don’t know that I needed that help,” he said of the conviction — and added that he would pray for the man who killed his sister.
“I found forgiveness through Jesus Christ … and I pray for Aburto that he will find salvation and see the error of his ways.”
Colclough compared being mad at Aburto and hanging on to the anger to being mad at the captain of the Titanic for hitting the iceberg and chaining himself to the ship.
“You can chain yourself to the Titanic or get in a lifeboat,” he said.
Colclough said he knew his sister “would strongly advise me toward forgiveness” and tell him to “stop holding on to it.”
Karen Colclough was with a group from the Presbyterian Church of Jackson Hole that was in Nicaragua on a humanitarian mission. The group was preparing to leave April 11 when Colclough went for a run on the beach at Tierra Nueva. She didn’t show up for dinner.
Colclough’s body was found three days later. Aburto was arrested after another three days and was said by police to have confessed to killing Colclough.
Glenda Zavala, head of Nicaragua’s Judicial Police, told reporters in April that Colclough was cut off from the beach by the rising tide, and that Aburto approached her and offered to show her another way back to the hotel. Police said he attacked her when he saw a chance.
Police said Aburto had scratches on his arms, indicating a struggle.
Aburto could be sentenced to 30 years in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for Friday.
Colclough, 37, had spent 10 years in the Jackson area working with adults who had developmental disabilities, mostly at Community Entry Services. She had also been a Snow King Mountain ski patroller and at the time of her death worked with Jackson Hole Mountain Resort’s adaptive ski program.
Friends praised her as dedicated and cheerful, always willing to help.
Her brother said Wednesday that “I definitely know I’m going to see her again.”