PANAMA CITY — Panamanian police on Thursday recaptured a Dominican man convicted of kidnapping and murdering five young people of Chinese descent, two weeks after he escaped prison for a second time.
National Police Director Jorge Miranda told local media that Gilberto Ventura Ceballos was found in the province of Chiriquí bordering Costa Rica.
Authorities had announced Feb. 4 that Ventura Ceballos had escaped. The latest escape prompted the resignation of the country’s security minister and the firing of the interior minister.
DOMINICAN MURDER SUSPECT ESCAPES PANAMA PRISON A 2ND TIME, OFFICIALS SAY
Ventura Ceballos was sentenced along with a fellow Dominican accomplice to 50 years in July 2018 for the abduction and killing of the five university students about a decade ago. He acknowledged murdering them and burying them beneath the floor of a home in the town of La Chorrera west of Panama City, authorities say.
Investigators said at least two were buried alive. The Dominicans, who ran a cell phone sales business, collected nearly a quarter-million dollars in ransom payments from relatives.
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Ventura Ceballos escaped the first time in December 2016. He was recaptured the following September in Costa Rica. He had dyed his hair and was living under a different name, working at an auto shop.