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U.S. businessman James Perry Edwards gunned down in Colombia by hit men



U.S. businessman James Perry Edwards
gunned down in Colombia by hit men

Special to A.M. Colombia

A former Limón, Costa Rica, businessman who still had interests here has been gunned down in Colombia by hit men.

The dead man is  James Perry Edwards, a former resident of that Caribbean community. At the time of his death he was the operator of Industrial Maintenance
Divers, a professional diving firm that repaired undersea cables and pipelines and did general diving work.

Ironically Edwards, who went by his second name of Perry, complained about thefts and criminality in Limón and said several months ago he was going to move the diving operation to Colombia.

Family members from the United States confirmed the death. The murder took place Dec. 13, but news of the crime only reached Costa Rica late last week. Edwards was in  the Troncal del Caribe on the outskirts of  Santa Marta near his office, in the process of negotiating a real estate transaction when gunmen arrived on a motorcycle. He operated
Perry Edwards and child
Perry Edwards and his child
a separate business in Colombia, and owned several properties. The area is on the northern Atlantic coast of Colombia.

He suffered three bullet wounds, and the fatal shot struck him in the chest. A stray shot wounded a passerby in the foot.

Investigators are working on two motives. The first, advanced by the mother of Edwards' 5-year-old child, is that he was engaged in a business activity and the shooting was designed to prevent him from completing a sale, according to the nearby Barranaquilla newspaper el Heraldo. She is  Claudia Mantilla Hernández.

Family members of Edwards say that another possible motive might stem from the prolonged legal battle that placed the child in the custody of the North American. The child is the product of a fleeing romance, they said.

The Limón firm operated by Edwards was in the news frequently as the repair agency for Costa Rica's internet connections. Both the ARCOS and the MAYA undersea cables are vulnerable to anchors of fishing boats, and the firm has been called on frequently to make repairs.

What irked Edwards the most was when crook stole one of his firm's boats out from under the guards at the port of Limón last June. The $30,000 boat was taken up the the Río Cieneguita, and when employees of the firm went to find it, they came under fire from presumed drug gang members.

Police and members of the Servicio Nacional de Guardacosta also were greeted by gunfire on a second trip upriver is search of the boat, and they withdrew and did not return, Edwards said. That was when he threatened to move the $1.5 million firm from Limón.
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