The evening of May 11, 2010 will not be an evening soon forgotten by an American expat who had been living in Costa Rica for the past 11 years.
Ben Vaughn moved to Costa Rica from Colorado with his family in 1999. Ben and his then wife, Marie, both wanted their children to experience the Latin American culture and become bilingual both language and cultural wise.
The Vaughn’s moved to Perez Zeledon which is approximately 25 minutes to Dominical and lies at the base of the Talamanca mountain range in the shadow of the tallest mountain in Central America, Chirripo. The Vaughn’s lived here for sometime and home schooled their children along with submersing themselves within the Costa Rican community.
Ben later became involved in the Costa Rica property industry and rapidly established a name for himself as the “go to guy” in the Southern Zone for property investment and lifestyle services for foreigners moving to the area.
Vaughn began living in Escalares in the mountains above Dominical in 2008 and began his venture in to lifestyle services with his partner and good mate, Rod Martin. The two quickly became notorious in the area and being the “nice guys of the Zone” and always willing to help when called upon. Ben could almost always be found at events and fundraisers for community improvements and also helped on more than one occasion with the local “Tico” schools of the Uvita and Dominical areas.
Then came May 11…
It was on this fateful evening that Ben was already on guard from the previous evening whereas thieves attempted to burglarize his home. Much to Ben’s surprise, the thieves did return.
Here it is in brief from his best friend and partner, Rod Martin:
” On the night of May 11th, my friend and business partner Ben Vaughn, was horribly assaulted after he confronted thieves who were attempting to rob his Escaleras house for the second night in a row. When I arrived at the hospital, he was unrecognizable and in critical condition. Due to the severity of his head injuries, he was taken by emergency helicopter to CIMA hospital in San Jose. He was in a coma for 7 days. Surgeries included 11 facial plates, a prosthetic orbital socket for his left eye (vision loss permanent), four temporary jaw posts, a PEG tube for eating, and an assortment of CAT scans and x-rays. “
The events of that fateful evening will forever haunt not only Ben but an entire community. News of the attack spread through the WWW quickly as people began to understand just how severe the situation was/is for Ben.
Currently Ben is recuperating in California with family and friends and is well on his way to “physical” recovery of the events of May 11. He is in good spirits and for nothing short of a miracle will surely rebound and come back even stronger than ever.
The assailant is still in Costa Rican prison while the crown prepares their case for attempted murder.
Josh, one of Ben’s neighbors and first on the scene described Ben’s condition, “He was unrecognizable and to be honest I thought I had seen everything but that night…I’ve never in all my life seen a human head destroyed like that. Even in the movies had I never seen such a horrific scene.”
Here is the plea for help from Rod Martin, friend and business partner:
“Hearing of his situation and that he did not have insurance, his community in the Southern Pacific Zone of Costa Rica quickly responded with a flood of donations to a new “Friends Of Ben” account established at Banco Costa Rica. There have been many initial donations and fund-raising events all over the globe, but his medical bills continue to escalate. If you find yourself in a position to help a very special and beloved human being, please go to this link at PayPal established by his childhood friend Rick Lindholtz. All monies are used for medical expenses, and please include your name and a way to personally thank you. “
Faced with months of rehabilitation in physical, mental and emotional states, Ben summarized the effect of this tragic event by saying,
“The trauma didn’t create the Love… the Love was already there.”
Like any tradjic event, there is a lesson for all of us. If faced with a situation whereas you encounter criminals in the act, do not try to intercept them yourself. Call for help, call 911 or do what you’ve got to in order to alert attention. Under no circumstances should anyone ever confront a criminal, whether armed or not. Police in most countries will warn of situations like this where citizens attempt to engage the criminals themselves. As most of us know, Costa Rica law enforcement is not the greatest and response times even worse, however this is no reason to take justice in to our own hands. Leave it to the law because no material objects are worth losing your life over.
So if you can find it in your hearts to help a man who’s helped so many before, please consider clicking the Paypal link above to donate and help a great man on the road to recovery.