Panama City, Panama — A U.S. soldier has been detained on suspicion of killing a Panamanian woman.
Sgt. Omar Velez is being held at Fort Bragg in North Carolina in connection with the murder of a young woman whose body was found in central Panama on June 23. U.S. Southern Command spokesman Kimberly Hanson says Velez has not yet been charged, but will likely be brought before a U.S. military court.
Velez was in Panama conducting training as part of a unit associated with the sale of military equipment. Local media have reported that he had been romantically involved with the victim, and was discovered trying to bury her body.
Some Panamanians are outraged that Velez’ diplomatic immunity protects him from local prosecution.