Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Crofts murder remains under investigation

U.S. State Department provides assistance to Crofts’ family

Express Staff Writer

The U.S. State Department confirmed Monday that police in Panama continue to investigate the murder earlier this month of former Hailey resident Kim Crofts.

"Right now the Panamanian police are still investigating," said Steve Royster, a spokesman for the State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs. "Our embassy officers down in Panama are in touch with the police that are investigating."

Crofts, 55, was killed by multiple gunshot wounds at his home in Bocas del Toro in northeast Panama the evening of Sept. 12. He and his wife, Mary Austin Crofts, had lived in Panama for about four years.

Austin Crofts has reported that Crofts was killed by an intruder and attributed the intrusion to an attempted robbery.

The investigation is being conducted by the Judicial Investigation Directorate, often referred to as the DIJ, an agency within the National Police of Panama.

National Police spokesman Eduardo Lim Yueng told the Idaho Mountain Express last week that five men have been "detained" for investigation into Croft's death. No additional information has been received by the Express from police in Panama.

"We are saddened to learn that Mr. Kimberly Crofts, an American citizen, was killed in Bocas del Toro in Panama," Royster said. "We at the State Department in Washington and the Embassy in Panama extend our condolences to the family. Our officers at the American Embassy in Panama provided assistant to Mr. Crofts' family in Panama."

Royster said the State Department expedited procurement of passports for members of Crofts' family in the U.S. to enable them to travel to Panama.

Memorial service held

Austin Crofts reported that more than 100 people attended a memorial service Sunday in Bocas del Toro for her husband.

"Many people shared their experiences knowing Kim with his great smile, positive attitude and generous and loving nature," Austin Crofts wrote in an e-mail. "There were great stories, poems, music and many tears."

Austin Crofts related a story of Crofts' driving a neighboring Indian woman who was "in labor and in trouble in the middle of the night" in pouring rain to the hospital to get help with delivering her baby.

"They named their new baby after him," she stated.

"The loving words and stories, the incredible flowers, the perfect weather and the seaside setting made a wonderful tribute to our loving husband and father."

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