Ecuador national police arrested a 36-year-old man in connection to the Monday night murder of U.S. expat Steve Riley. The man, identified as Daniel Matias, had been held as a suspect since he was apprehended early Tuesday morning at Vicente Moscoso Corral Hospital where he was being treated for injuries possibly suffered during a struggle with Riley.
Police say that Riley, 64, had been stabbed 27 times and died at the entrance of his home on Av. 27 de Febrero at Bernardo de Legarda, in the Tres Puentes neighborhood.
At an arraignment hearing following the arrest, prosecutors said that the suspect was carrying a suitcase owned by the victim when he was detained at the hospital. They said they are currently examining the contents of the suitcase. On Wednesday morning, police said they were considering robbery as well as personal issues as motives for the crime.
The police and prosecution provided few other details about the case, saying the investigation is in its early stages.
Several of Riley’s neighbors told the media that the suspect knew the victim and that he was a frequent guest at Riley’s home. “We saw the men together many times and thought they were friends,” one neighbor told a television reporter.
An expat acquaintance of Riley said he was shocked by the murder and cautioned against what he called “wild speculation” about the case within the expat community. “Steve may have had an alternative lifestyle but I’m not sure this has anything to do with the murder. I guess we will all know more in a few days,” said the man, who asked not to be identified.
Police did not say whether they had recovered the knife suspected of being used in the murder. Two of Riley’s neighbors say they saw the suspect throw an object into the Yanuncay River, opposite Riley’s house.
Photo credit: El Mercurio