Matchmaking American killed in Colombia

/ Source: The Associated Press

An American entrepreneur who introduced foreign men to “young, sexy, exotic and beautiful Latin Women” via the Internet was killed in the western city of Cali by gunmen on a motorcycle, police said Saturday.

Robert Marshall Vignola, 50, of Hamden, Conn., claimed he created the Web site The Cali, Colombia-based company, in business since 1999, claimed it “has assisted hundreds of clients in the search for the Latin Woman of their dreams.”

In addition to offering contact with women pictured in bikinis for $20 each, the Web site promoted vacation packages to Cali including a “private tour” accompanied by Vignola for $600 per day plus airfare.

The site also sold a book penned by Vignola entitled “Secrets of Romancing Latin Women.” It describes Latin females as “the type of women that make a man’s heart race, blood boil and libido accelerate into overdrive.”

Vignola was shot and killed Thursday night by two men on a motorcycle while driving to Cali’s airport, police said. His 33-year-old Colombian wife, Beatriz Ramos, was hospitalized with bullet wounds in the shoulder.

Police rule out robbery
Cali’s police chief, Gen. Alberto Moore, told The Associated Press on Saturday that authorities did not know why he was killed but had ruled out robbery.

Cali, home to Colombia’s dominant cocaine cartel in the 1990s, remains among the country’s most violent cities.

In addition to the “matrimonial service,” Vignola had a casino in Cali that went bankrupt, leaving him with considerable debts, Moore said. “So it’s said that possibly people could have been demanding money, and he didn’t pay and so they took this reprisal.”

Moore said Vignola had financial problems in the United States but said he had no details.

Relatives of Vignola in Connecticut, where according to his personal Web site he practiced law and offered assistance in obtaining mortgages, would not comment.

“We’re in mourning right now so please don’t bother us,” said a man who answered the phone at Vignola’s father’s home.

A friend of Vignola in Cali who spoke on condition he not be identified said Vignola only visited the city three or four times a year.

Vignola’s personal testimonial on the Web, which describes him as its “former owner and original founder,” recounts how he met his wife in Colombia after deciding he had “almost no chance of finding the woman of my dreams here in the United States.”