Jailed American allegedly admits to 7 Panama murders


A U.S. man jailed in Panama has admitted to killing five Americans so he could take over their businesses and properties in a Panamanian resort area, according to prosecutors in the Central American country.

Bodybuilder William Dathan Holbert, 30, and his wife, Laura Michelle Reese, were arrested earlier this week when they tried to enter Nicaragua from Costa Rica. The pair were arrested and sent back to Panama for questioning.

Police found the bodies of a woman and a man buried behind a hostel run by Holbert in an area of small islands in Bocas del Toro. The victims are identified as Cherly Lynn Hughes, 53, of Missouri and Bo Icelar, a former gallery owner in New Mexico.

Holbert reportedly told authorities he posed as a potential investor interested in their businesses and properties. Holbert allegedly shot each of them in the head, then buried them behind the hostel.

Holbert allegedly told police he also killed U.S. citizen Mike Brown as well as his wife and small son, and disclosed where he had buried them. The other two suspected victims were Panamanian workers.

Reese has refused to talk to police and has requested legal counsel provided by the U.S. Embassy.