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Castro: Murder Suspects Arrested

March 6, 2002

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HAVAVA (AP) _ Suspects in the December slaying of five people, including a couple from Miami and an 8-year-old boy, have been arrested, President Fidel Castro said in comments published Wednesday by state media.

The killings occurred on a provincial highway in mid-December during an apparent robbery attempt in Matanzas province as the group traveled by car eastbound from Havana to visit relatives in the central city of Santa Clara.

Four of the victims were identified as members of the same family _ including the boy _ and the fifth was identified as a family friend who was driving the car.

At the time of the slayings, the government-controlled media did not report anything at all about the crime.

Murders are uncommon in this communist country, and the killings of visitors to Cuba, which depends heavily upon dollars generated by foreign tourism, are especially unusual.

On Tuesday, Castro announced at the end of a lengthy discourse on national television that all the suspects had been arrested.

``The police worked very hard,″ he said. ``We found out everything, down to the last detail.″

Castro did not publicly reveal any details during his brief statement on the deadly attack, which he said ``was especially repugnant″ because it included the killing of an 8-year-old.

The FBI in Miami confirmed in January that it was working with Cuban authorities to help solve the case.

Relatives in south Florida identified the victims as Ada Lorenzo, 52, and Celedonio Placencia, 62, Cuban-born legal U.S. residents living in the Miami area; their grandson Daniel Osmani Placencia, 8; and their daughter Yailen Placencia, 28, both of Cuba; and Domingo Delgado, who was driving the car.

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