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Bodies found in Mexico likely those of missing surfers: authorities

Rescue workers, forensics investigators and prosecutors preparing to enter a shaft where human remains were found near La Bocana Beach in Ensenada, Baja California state on May 3, 2024
Rescue workers, forensics investigators and prosecutors preparing to enter a shaft where human remains were found near La Bocana Beach in Ensenada, Baja California state on May 3, 2024 - Copyright AFP Guillermo Arias
Rescue workers, forensics investigators and prosecutors preparing to enter a shaft where human remains were found near La Bocana Beach in Ensenada, Baja California state on May 3, 2024 - Copyright AFP Guillermo Arias

The physical characteristics of three bodies found in Mexico’s Baja California state resemble those of two Australian brothers and their American friend who went missing while on a surfing trip, local authorities said Saturday.

State prosecutor Maria Elena Andrade said that the bodies, found dumped in a shaft atop a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, were in an “advanced state of decomposition,” complicating identification.

“However,” she added, “given their clothing and certain characteristics such as long hair and specific physical descriptions, we have high probability” that the bodies are in fact those of the three missing men.

While another body was found at the site, investigators determined that it had been there for some time and had no connection to the latest disappearances.

Brothers Callum and Jake Robinson had been on a surfing vacation with their American friend Jack Carter when they disappeared a week ago near the city of Ensenada.

The bodies were found Friday near the town of Santo Tomas, about 30 miles (45 kilometers) southeast of Ensenada, in a spot that is difficult to reach but popular with surfers. 

Mexican authorities, who have arrested three suspects, were carrying out the investigation in collaboration with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Australian consulate.

Andrade said one line of inquiry is whether the deaths resulted from an attempt to steal their pickup truck. The vehicle — which had been burned — was found nearby.

A spokesperson for Australia’s foreign ministry said earlier that it was in regular contact with the family of the missing Australians and that it “recognizes this is a very distressing time.”

The resorts of Baja California are popular with US tourists, partly because of their proximity to the border. While cartel activity is heavy in the area, it doesn’t commonly affect foreign tourists.

Spiraling criminal violence in Mexico has claimed 450,000 lives and led to more than 100,000 disappearances since the end of 2006, when the federal government launched a controversial anti-drug strategy involving the use of military units.

AFP
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