US woman found stabbed to death in Costa Rica hotel

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SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (AP) — A U.S. woman who organized volunteer medical missions in Central America was found stabbed to death at a hotel in Costa Rica's capital of San Jose, authorities said.

Police said the body of 45-year-old Sondra Lynn was discovered on a bed in the hotel on Thursday. Officials gave no information on a possible motive in the killing.

The Vida Volunteer organization that the woman founded identified her as Sondra Lynn Elizondo and gave her age as 46. The group, which is based in Merritt Island, Florida, helps provide health and veterinary care in Guatemala, Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

In a statement Friday, the group said Elizondo "was largely responsible for defining and implementing Vida's core values."

"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," said the group's communications manager, Ana Salas. "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."

Vida Volunteer said the victim was a social worker and Minnesota native who resided in Merritt Island, Florida. She had served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Costa Rica from 1994 to 1996.

In an email, the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica confirmed that it was aware of the investigation into an American woman's death and was in close contact with Costa Rican authorities.

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