Murder in Panama
Senior Staff Writer
The family of former Penn Valley custom homebuilder Paul Roger Nunes – murdered March 29 in Panama – is struggling to raise enough money to bring his remains home.
Nunes, 64, was found beaten to death in his rental home in the town of Dolega on March 29, according to published reports. Panamanian authorities are investigating the killing, said his daughter, Aline Nunes, who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Nunes had been in Dolega – in the southwestern part of the Central American country, for about two months and was sharing a house with a young Panamanian couple, according to a report in the English-language Panama Times.
“His Social Security was $1,500 a month, so he was a rich man in Panama,” Aline
He was at home early in the morning when “the robbers forced the young Panamanian woman into a back room and locked her in with her baby,” the Panama Times reported. “The woman’s husband was not home at the time.”
The men then allegedly beat Nunes, stole objects and then drove away in his pickup, which was later found abandoned, according to Paul Nunes’ son, Brandon Nunes, of Sacramento.
Neighbors heard screams coming from the home, and Nunes was found tied to his chair in front of his computer, Brandon Nunes said.
“Area residents suspect the robbers might have had keys or some other way to gain access to the house, because apparently there were no signs of forced entry,” the Panama Times reported.
The husband of the young woman showed up at the murder scene later in the day and had a suspicious story, said Brandon Nunes, who has been in communication with a freelance journalist in Panama covering the story.
The woman’s husband is in police custody now and allegedly has admitted a part in the robbery-murder, the victim’s son said.
Armed police have been guarding his father’s door around the clock since the slaying to protect the valuables inside, Brandon Nunes added.
“I’ve got to fly down there next week, and I’m going to have to spend my student loan money on it,” the younger Nunes said. “I’ve got to get down there to pay to have him cremated.”
Once there, Nunes’ son probably will hold an estate sale to pay off the rest of the family’s costs, he said.
“As soon as I get there, the police will be gone, so we’ll have to hire a security guard too,” Brandon Nunes said.
Anyone wanting to help can log onto Pay Pal at https://www.paypal.com and donate through the account paulnunesburialfund@yahoo.
com, Aline Nunes said.
Nunes left Nevada County about a year ago for Texas due to financial problems and the lack of construction work here, said his ex-wife, Sonata Nunes of Grass Valley.
“He lost his house here to foreclosure,” Sonata said. “We were still very good friends. It’s terrible.”
The couple built a home here in 2001, but Nunes’ last custom home job was in 2003, when the market for his work began to falter. He kept busy on other construction projects before leaving for Texas, Sonata Nunes said.
Things didn’t work well in Texas, either, and Paul Nunes lost another home there to foreclosure. Nunes had arrived in Panama “with an eye toward working on a tourist development project in the Portobelo area,” according to Panama-Guide.com. Relatives called it a condominium and hotel project.
The Panama Times lists Nunes as being “the CEO of Stonecastle Homes Inc.”
“When he finished the project, he was supposed to retire to Ecuador,” Aline Nunes said.
To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail email@example.com or call (530) 477-4237.
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