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Mexico: Bodies found after 3 foreign surfers go missing

May 4, 2024

Mexican authorities are examining three dead bodies, found relatively close to where two Australian and a US national went missing in a region hit by cartel violence.

Rescue workers, forensics, and prosecutors work in a waterhole where human remains were found near La Bocana Beach, Santo Tomas delegation, in Ensenada, Baja California State, Mexico
Australian brothers Jake and Callum Robinson and their American friend Jack Carter have not been seen since April 27Image: Guillermo Arias/AFP/Getty Images

Three bodies were found in Mexico's Baja California State on Friday, where two Australians and an American went missing during a surfing trip in a region rampant with cartel violence.

"We confirm there were three individuals found deceased in Santo Tomas, Baja California," said a statement from the FBI's office in San Diego, California. However, the agency did not identify the victims.

Mexican forensic examiners and emergency workers were trying to recover evidence found at the scene on Friday, news agency AP reported, citing an anonymous employee of the state prosecutors' office.

The site is near the township of Santo Tomás, south of Ensenada — the area where local media reported three bodies were found. Mexican news outlets reported that the bodies were found relatively close to the area where three foreigners went missing last week.

Who are the three missing persons?

Australian brothers Jake and Callum Robinson and their American friend Jack Carter have been missing since April 27, when they were on a surfing and camping trip near the coastal city of Ensenada in the northwestern state of Baja California.

In a Facebook post, the brothers' mother Debra Robinson said the trio never arrived at their planned accommodation there.

The city of Ensenada is 30 miles (45 kilometers) away from where the three bodies were discovered.

What have the authorities found?

On Thursday, Baja California state authorities said three Mexican nationals were being questioned in connection with the disappearances.

María Elena Andrade Ramírez, the chief state prosecutor, did not say whether the three people questioned were considered possible suspects or witnesses in the case. She did, however, mention that some were tied directly to the case.

Andrade Ramírez also said they had found evidence along with the abandoned tents earlier in the day, which was linked to the three being questioned. 

Mexico's police officers stand guard at the Ensenada station in Ensenada, Mexico
Mexican authorities have found tents and questioned a few people in the case of two Australians and an American who went missingImage: AP/picture alliance

"A working team [of investigators] is at the site where they were last seen, where tents and other evidence was found that could be linked to these three people we have under investigation," Andrade Ramírez had said on Thursday.

"There is a lot of important information that we can't make public. We do not know what condition they are in," she said at the time.

"All lines of investigation are open at this time. We cannot rule anything out until we find them," she said, acknowledging that drug cartels are active in the region.

The investigation is being coordinated with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Australian and US consulates.

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

mk/msh (AFP, AP)

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