THE AMERICAN'S VISIT to the jail where Murillo was held was confirmed in secret testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in June 1988 by the CIA's deputy director for operations, Richard Stolz.

He testified that the agency learned from Honduran military sources on April 5, 1983, that Murillo had been arrested.

A transcript of his testimony was declassified at The Sun's request.

"Mindful of the human rights issue, headquarters inquired about her current condition and asked if formal charges had been brought against her," Stolz testified. He said that a CIA officer went to visit "the area where Ms. Murillo was held."

Much of Stolz's account of CIA involvement in the Murillo case was censored by the CIA before the transcript was released to The Sun.

Stolz declined to comment.

Caballero told The Sun that he remembered the visit by "Mr. Mike." Battalion members put clothes on Murillo that day, he says, but they did not cover all of her bruises and gashes.

"He saw how she was," Caballero said.

Caballero's account is consistent with information that he provided to investigators from the Senate intelligence committee.

He told investigators that a CIA official visited INDUMIL "quite frequently" and "even more so when [Murillo] was in custody," according to a previously classified, 22-page transcript obtained by The Sun.

"I believe it may be three to four times a week," Caballero told the investigators. When we had [Murillo] he visited us very frequently." He said the CIA official "even did some of the questioning."

"We never knew when [deletion] was to visit," Caballero added. "He came and went as he pleased. He had full access."

Two days after "Mr. Mike" visited her, Murillo says, one of her captors offered her a chance to live: She was to give a press conference, admitting that she was a guerrilla and warning the country that Communist groups were plotting to overthrow the government.

"The torturers spent two hours telling me the benefits of giving the press conference," she said. "I would be able to see my family. I would be free."

As an inducement, she says, they made life more comfortable. They allowed her to bathe for the first time in two months. They gave her a meal of beans and rice, and they gave her a thin mattress to sleep on.

"I knew then that the press conference was the idea of the American," she said. "I knew that this American had the power to decide whether I lived or died."

She said she also thought about the possibility of returning home. But her hopes were shattered the next day when she told her captors that she would give the press conference only if it were live, with real reporters, and only if her parents were there.

"They told me, 'Do you think we are idiots?" Murillo recalled. She said the beatings resumed.

A family's pleas

MURILLO'S FAMILY had not given up hope. Murillo's mother, Ines, a German national employed by the United Nations, sought help from German officials in Honduras and from her boss.