An exploding grenade tragically ended a hostage drama in the central Colombian town of Briceño in the early hours of Thursday morning, killing an ex-convict and his wife, whom the suspect had held hostage since Wednesday morning over a custody dispute.
The tragedy began on Wednesday morning when Fredy Castillo Villamil entered the home of his wife’s family armed with a revolver and a grenade and demanded his ex-wife and two year old son.
Local police learned of the situation and quickly cordoned off the area. Whilst holding several tenants from the building hostage, Castillo shouted through a window to police that he wanted custody of his son. His ex-wife had earlier left the house to take the child to pre-school.
At noon, wife and son, who had returned to the scene, were permitted by authorities to enter the building, reported Colombian media on Thursday.
Tension rose when an officer attempted to approch the building and Castillo reacted by firing shots through the window.
After several hours, Castillo allowed his wife, his son and two other hostages to leave the building. He let the last person leave on the condition that his wife came back into the house.
According to reports Castillo began to drink and smoke and at one point threw a gasoline soaked rag onto a policeman and dropped a flame after it.
Meanwhile authorities had surrounded the building and established that Castillo was released from prison three months ago where he served five years for homicide.
Castillo refused to cooperate with authorities, and even with his own brothers who arrived at the scene, tried in vain to convince the convict to surrender peacefully.
Darkness fell, the hours continued to pass until at about 2.30AM on Thursday morning, while officers were devising a stategy to capture Castillo and safely release his wife, a great explosion went off inside the house.
Authorities rushed into the building to discover that both Castillo and his kidnapped wife had been killed by the blast. The bodies were removed and it has not yet been established whether the grenade was detonated accidentally of deliberately.