The Missing Americans Project

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Dutch Reporters Arrested for Trying to Talk With Roatan Murder Suspect

Dutch TV crime reporter Peter R de Vries, 53, and his colleague Chantal van Schuylenburgh, 43, were arrested in Autstralia for trying to talk to a 31-year-old Australian who they say is a murder suspect in the death of 23-year-old Dutch woman Mariska Mast in Roatan, Honduras two years ago. Read full story.

The Australian, Dan Ross, was questioned by police in Roatan after the death of Ms Mast in August 2008, when he was a dive instructor there. She had gone to his apartment but the next morning the suspect and his female Korean room-mate, who is now detained in Honduras, took a severely injured Ms Mast to hospital, where she died.

De Vries said the suspect, who has Australian and British citizenship, had been released pending an investigation but had to surrender his British passport and not leave the country. Interpol has issued a warrant for an Australian man for the Honduras incident, but he used his Australian passport to leave Honduras, De Vries said.

Murders of foreigners in Roatan are on the rise, according to the Bay Islands Voice newspaper. In addition, there have been several disappearances of foreigners in the region in the past year, including Joe Dunsavage and Leo Finley (U.S.), Maurilio Mirabella and Luca Pagliaro (Italy), Earl and Joseph Garbutt (Belize), and Ron Scheepstra (U.S. - Ron disappeared from Xcalak, Mexico, near enough to Roatan that he and his fishing buddies were using Roatan tide charts). Of the disappearances known by the Missing Americans Project to have occurred since April 2009, most were concentrated around Roatan and the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica. In all of these cases, the families have struggled to get government or media attention for their cases - so perhaps the arrest of de Vries will help.

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