BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. (WDTV)-- An American bookmaker and Bridgeport native was found dead after he went missing in Costa Rica nearly a year ago, Costa Rican officials told ESPN on Monday.
ESPN reports that the body of 43-year-old William Creighton was found last week in a cemetery in the small fishing town of Quepos, according to a statement from the nation's judicial investigation department. The cause of death could not be confirmed because it "isn't clear yet," according to the statement.
"We can confirm Costa Rican authorities identified the remains of a U.S. citizen in Costa Rica," a spokesperson for the U.S. State Department said in a statement Monday afternoon in response to ESPN's request for comment about Creighton's death. "We offer our sincerest condolences to the family on their loss. We are closely monitoring local authorities' investigation into the cause of death. We stand ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance. Out of respect to the family during this difficult time, we have no further comment."
Creighton founded and ran 5Dimes, a popular online sportsbook headquartered in San Pedro, according to ESPN. The site has served bettors in the U.S. for 20 years.
Creighton grew up in Bridgeport and was the son of William Creighton, the owner of Giant Eagle grocery stores, ESPN reports. He graduated from West Virginia University in 1998 with a degree in business administration. He moved to Costa Rica a year later to launch 5Dimes in 1999.
ESPN reports the Costa Rican OIJ said in January that Creighton was abducted after leaving the 5Dimes office on Sept. 24, 2018.
ESPN reports early the next morning, Creighton's relatives received a $5 million ransom demand, according to the OIJ. A $1 million ransom was paid in bitcoin, OIJ said.
In January, authorities conducted raids in Costa Rica and Spain, leading to the arrest of 12 people believed to be involved in Creighton's disappearance, according to the OIJ statement ESPN received. Three suspects-- Jordan Morales Vega, whom investigators say was the leader of Creighton's abduction, his mother, Guiselle Vega Aguirre and companion Maria Fernanda Solis Chaves-- were extradited from Spain to Costa Rica in late April and are awaiting trial. The supsects are being investigated for the crime of extortive kidnapping, the Costa Rica Office of Public Ministry told ESPN.
ESPN reports that the Costa Rican government has not yet said how they discovered Creighton's body, nor how investigators identified his remains, which were discovered about a three-hour drive from the suspected abduction site. The Office of Public Ministry has not yet announced if there will be any additional charges now that Creighton's death has been confirmed.