Owensboro native Henry Bugay was killed over the weekend on Little Corn Island, 40 miles off the coast of Nicaragua in Central America. According to authorities investigating the incident, Bugay was found on the second floor of his home, part of his body wrapped in a cloth, and had been dead longer than 15 hours when discovered by neighbors.
Authorities described Bugay as an “American Investor” on the Facebook post that revealed details of Bugay’s alleged murder. Authorities believe Bugay was killed Saturday morning around dawn. His phone was also declared stolen.
“Informants of the paradise island give faith that Henry had a stab in his neck. It is presumed that the mobile phone was theft,” the Facebook post explains.
Bugay attended Owensboro High School and the University of Kentucky. He later spent a few years of his life in Miami, where he practiced law before moving to Little Corn Island.
Mary Downs, a friend of Bugay’s and a resident of Little Corn Island alongside the 1,200 locals who live there, described the murder of her friend as “shocking.”
“The islands are peaceful. [There are] no protests on the islands,” Downs said. “That is why we are all in shock of Henry’s death.”
Downs said while civil and political unrest have developed over much of Nicaragua due to recent social security reforms that took place in April 2018, the Corn Islands had yet to be affected by the increased percentages of violent crime and robbery that have inhabited much of the country over the last nine months.
The U.S. Department of State urges citizens to “reconsider travel to Nicaragua due to crime, civil unrest, limited healthcare availability, and arbitrary enforcement of laws.” According to the department’s website, the Central American country is a level three of its advisory scale, with a level four being “do not travel.”
Downs said that while Little Corn had, so far, stayed out of the political protests, Nicaragua has experienced its fair share of ups and downs.
“People in general are having difficulties economically as the country is in crisis. Tourism has dropped dramatically, fishing industry is low and lots of people have lost their jobs, and others are in threat of losing their jobs,” Downs said. “But Henry was kind-hearted, and I highly doubt he had any enemies on the island.”
Downs said she believed Bugay could have been vulnerable to robbery and possible violence because he lived alone, was older and financially comfortable. Downs said she believes the alleged murder was an isolated incident, one where, simply, Bugay may have been taken advantage of.
“Henry was a warm-hearted person and had a lively personality,” Downs said. “He was very friendly and opened his doors to everyone. He was very intelligent, and I loved his sense of humor.”
Another of Bugay’s friends from the island was Henry Chang. Although Change moved away from Little Corn last July, he said Bugay made a significant impact on his life when he lived there.
“He was a very nice person, a lover of animals, and he would make a lot of jokes and was fun to be around,” Chang said.
Chang described the island of Little Corn as peaceful, but also said every place has its problems.
“In life, anything can happen sometimes,” Chang said. “I had good and bad experiences living there, so I never want to go back.”
One of Bugay’s recent Facebook posts revealed the philosophical, positive and good-hearted man his friends described. In the September 2018 post, Bugay included a picture of he and his family attending his son’s wedding in New York.
“Upon the time you are taking a last breath, you shall not think of the beautiful things you owned, your community status, none of the worldly concerns that consume us…rather your mind will drift to special moments with those that matter. If you ask me to sum up what our primary mission in this brief worldly existence is — my answer would be love.”
The Owensboro Times was unable to reach Bugay’s family for comment.