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Mexico: 3 bodies found are those of Australian, US surfers

May 6, 2024

The trio were shot dead during a suspected botched robbery during a surfing trip to Mexico. Authorities found their bodies with bullet wounds to the heads.

Surfers throw flowers during a tribute to 3 missing surfers in Ensenada, Mexico,
The trio were believed to have been murdered during an attempt to steal their pick-up truck from a campsite Image: Karen Castaneda/AP Photo/picture alliance

The bodies of three tourists who went missing in Mexico's Baja California state last month were identified by family members, the state prosecutor's office said Sunday.

Australian brothers Callum, 33, and Jake Robinson, 30, and their American friend Jack Carter, 30, were on surfing trip along a stretch of coast south of the city of Ensenada when they went missing on April 27.

Mexican authorities assisted by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) found the bodies in a well in the town of Santo Tomas on Friday. The missing men's parents traveled to Mexico to officially confirm the remains were those of their sons.

Mexican prosecutors said the bodies were found with bullets wounds to the head and were found dumped in a remote well some distance from a campsite, close to where the men's vehicle, which had been burned, was found.

Mexican security forces frisk men at a checkpoint in Ensenada, Mexico, Thursday, May 2, 2024.
Mexican authorities, with support from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), found earlier this week three bodies believed to be those of the missing foreignersImage: AP/picture alliance

Their bodies were in "an advanced state of decomposition," chief state prosecutor Maria Elena Andrade Ramirez said earlier.

A fourth body was also found in the well, but it seemed from its state to have been dumped there earlier.

Murdered for tires

Prosecutors believe the men were attacked by thieves who wanted to steal their car, partly because they wanted the tires.

"When (the foreigners) came up and caught them, surely, they resisted," Andrade Ramírez said.

The photos of the foreign surfers who disappeared are placed on the beach in Ensenada
The trio were on a surfing trip to Mexico's Baja peninsulaImage: Karen Castaneda/AP Photo/picture alliance

Authorities have detained two men and a woman in connection with the case, which locals said was solved far more quickly than the disappearances of thousands of Mexicans, suggesting that the authorities moved faster due to the foreign nationalities of the victims.

Baja California, known for its inviting beaches, is also one of Mexico's most violent states because of organized crime cartel activity.

rmt/lo (AFP, AP, Reuters)