Panama sentences two men in 2020 killings of 7 young people

December 30, 2021 GMT

PANAMA CITY (AP) — Two men were given long prison terms Wednesday for killing seven young people in 2020, bloodshed that shocked this country where mass slayings are rare.

Prosecutors said Reynaldo Cuadra McBean was sentenced to 50 years and Jean Carlos Hernandez was sentenced to serve 36 years for their convictions on homicide, abduction, aggravated robbery and other charges. The court found them guilty on Dec. 15.

Authorities have never offered a motive for the killings on July 17, 2020.

Relatives found the bodies of the four women and three men between the ages of 17 and 22 near Lake Gatun after they did not return from an outing. The youths were among 13 who had gone to the lake that day.

Five of the bodies were found in an abandoned military bunker probably dating from the time of U.S. control of the Panama Canal. Investigators said the bodies bore signs of bullet wounds.