The prime suspect in the murder of a U.S. woman who traveled to Nicaragua on a church mission was arrested Wednesday, a senior police officer said.

Fernando Antonio Aburto Reyes killed Karen Colclough in the course of a robbery, the National Police's Glenda Zavala told a press conference.

Colclough, 37, went missing last Friday from the beachfront resort where she and the other members of the group from the Presbyterian Church of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, were spending a few days after completing their aid mission.

She was found dead Monday near the resort in Montelimar, on Nicaragua's Pacific coast.

Colclough left the church group to take photographs and wandered beyond the hotel's security perimeter, Zavala said.

The tide had come in by the time Colclough headed back to the hotel and the path was obstructed. Aburto approached, ostensibly to help, but instead grabbed the woman's camera, struck her and strangled her to death, the police official said.

Aburto later sold Colclough's camera to an area resident. EFE