More than five years ago, in the small town of San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, a 28-year-old American expat from Tennessee named Eric Volz was charged with the murder of his beautiful ex-girlfriend. The 25-year-old woman, named Doris Ivania Alvarado Jiménez, had been raped and killed in a quiet town that was changing as Americans looking for cheap living near the ocean moved onto beachfront property. The locals didn't exactly enjoy the boom, and resentment toward outsiders grew. It seemed that Volz had found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, and eventually he was sentenced to life in prison, though the case against him was murky. Reporter Tony D'Souza covered the trial for Outside in 2006 and 2007. D'Souza's story, and others, drummed up media attenton that put a spotlight on Volz's imprisonment. Volz's family also fought to keep the story in the news, and in December of 2007, he was released from a Nicaraguan prison and returned to the United States.
Now, Volz has begun a fight to try and free an American from the same prison where he was kept. Jason Puracal, who moved to Central America as a Peace Corps volunteer in 2002, was arrested in his San Juan del Sur home in November 2011, and was later given a sentence of 22 years for drug trafficking and money laundering. The real estate agent with a Nicaraguan wife and a 4-year-old son went to prison.