Initial public speculation was that the vicious murder had been a robbery gone wrong but police soon dispelled that by issuing warrants for four men. Two of the men were local surfers, known drug-users and petty criminals. They were Julio Martin Chamorro Lopez, 30, known as Rosita, and Nelson Antonio Lopez Dangla, 24, known as Krusty. Lopez had been arrested because a policeman had seen him near the store, shirtless, with fresh scratches and acting nervous. His friend Dangla was arrested soon after. The third person sought by police was Armando Llanes, 20, who had been casually dating Jimenez at the time of her death. Llanes produced a statement from officials at his university that proved an alibi and he was not taken into custody.
Despite being two hours away from the crime scene and having a detailed alibi, the fourth man arrested was 27-year-old Eric Volz, Jimenez’s ex-boyfriend. On the morning of Jimenez’s murder Volz was at his home in Managua, which doubled as the offices of EP magazine. He entered the office area of the house at about 9.15am and was seen by five co-workers, the security guard and the housekeeper. Over the course of the morning Volz had a series of meetings with various people including the journalist Ricardo Castillo and a conference call with a business contact in Atlanta, Georgia, that ended at 1.14pm.
At 2.43pm, in front of five people, Volz received a call from a friend of Jimenez’s informing him of her death. Visibly upset, he hurried to rent a car to drive to San Juan del Sur to support Jimenez’s family, leaving at about 3pm. Despite his apparent removal from the crime, he was arrested and charged with her murder shortly after the funeral on 23rd November 2006.
In custody, Lopez pointed to Volz as the perpetrator. In an unsigned statement to police, that he later claimed had been extracted under torture, Lopez said Volz had offered him $5,000 to go to the store with him where the jealous ex-boyfriend, raging at her new relationship with Llanes, attacked, raped and murdered Jimenez. When arrested, Dangla had injuries to his penis and scratches on his neck, torso, arms and hands. He told police that Volz had paid him to meet him outside the fashion boutique and carry two bags into a car. The charges against Dangla were dropped in return for his testimony.
Anti-foreigner sentiment was running high, due to rampant foreign investment and a developing culture of the ‘gringo haves’ and the ‘local have-nots’. Public opinion immediately turned against the American, with local papers running the headlines “Young businesswoman victim of jealous gringo’’ and “US Embassy advises accused gringo to keep quiet”. Several days before Volz’s arraignment on 7 December 2006, a car drove through San Juan del Sur with a loudspeaker asking people to “Bring justice to the gringo”. An angry mob were present at the arraignment and Volz and his defence team were attacked as they left, having to flee and take refuge in a nearby gymnasium.