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Casper city employee Darren Mizokami and his wife, Kimberly, drowned Wednesday while vacationing in Costa Rica, according to reports from multiple Costa Rican publications. City Manager Carter Napier confirmed Darren Mizokami’s death and that he was a city employee.

The couple drowned at the El Salto de Belen waterfall in Nicoya, Guanacaste. They had been staying in a hotel in Samara. According to a witness report from the Costa Rica Star, Darren Mizokami jumped into a pool of water, not knowing it was approximately 23 feet deep. His wife jumped in to help, while another tourist went for help. When she returned, they had both drowned.

“We ran to the pool, but when we arrived they were already dead,” a local man named Alberto, who jumped into the water to try to help, said in Spanish to the Costa Rican website La Teja. “The water was very cloudy, so you could not see the real depth of the pool.”

The Red Cross was notified at 11:35 a.m. Wednesday, according to the multiple outlets. When the Red Cross arrived, nothing could be done, National Deputy Director of Risk Management Jim Batres told La Teja.

Costa Rican newspaper La Nación reported that the bodies were recovered from Río Nosara at 11:29 a.m.

Darren Mizokami, 48, worked as utilities supervisor at the Meter Services Department. He and Kimberly Mizokami, 41, arrived in Costa Rica last week, according to the Star.

“We’re deeply saddened,” Napier told the Star-Tribune. “He was a bright spot in our organization.”

Darren Mizokami had also worked as acting supervisor of the Municipal Court while the permanent supervisor was out on medical leave.

Thursday would have been his 25th service anniversary, according to a release from the city. He also spent time working as a part-time municipal worker and an equipment operator.

“Darren’s experience in multiple divisions made him very effective for the city, which benefited the residents as well,” the release said. “However, it was his positive attitude and commitment to his duties, even during difficult situations, that helped him excel and lift up those around him.”

In 2015, a woman died at the same spot, which is sought out by tourists, according to La Teja. Three people died in water-related accidents last weekend, according to La Nacion.

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Managing Editor

Brandon Foster is the Star-Tribune's managing editor. He joined the Star-Tribune in 2016 as the University of Wyoming sports reporter after graduating from the University of Missouri and covering Mizzou athletics for two years.

Crime and Courts Reporter

Shane Sanderson is a Star-Tribune reporter who primarily covers criminal justice. Sanderson is a proud University of Missouri graduate. Lately, he’s been reading Cormac McCarthy and cooking Italian food. He writes about his own life in his free time.

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