Mexican authorities say thieves killed 2 Australians and an American to steal their truck


Thieves killed two Australians and an American on a surf trip to Mexico to steal their truck, particularly because they wanted the tires, authorities said Sunday.

Prosecutors in the state of Baja California released grisly details of the murders, but have not yet officially confirmed the identification of the bodies. They said relatives of the victims are checking the bodies to see if they can be visually identified.

The bodies were decomposing after the thieves dumped them in a remote well 15 meters (50 feet) deep. If family members cannot identify them, more tests will be done. The pit also contained a fourth body that had been there much longer.

“The probability that it is them is very high,” said state Attorney General María Elena Andrade Ramírez, noting that the bodies still appeared identifiable to the naked eye.

The three men disappeared last weekend during a camping and surfing trip, posting idyllic photos on social media of waves and secluded beaches along a stretch of coast south of the city of Ensenada.

But Andrade Ramírez described the terrifying moments that ended the journey of brothers Jake and Callum Robinson from Australia and American Jack Carter Rhoad.

She said that the murderers passed by and saw the foreigners’ truck and tents and wanted to steal their tires.

“They probably resisted,” he said of the victims, and the robbers shot them to death.

The robbers then went to what she called “a place that is extremely difficult to get to” and dumped their bodies in a well they apparently knew about. She said investigators were not ruling out the possibility that the same suspects also dumped the earlier first body into the well as part of their robberies.

“They may have been looking for trucks in this area,” Andrade Ramírez said.

The site where the bodies were discovered near the municipality of Santo Tomás was near the remote coastal area where the tents and truck of the missing men were found along the coast on Thursday. According to his latest photo posts, the trip seemed perfect. But even seasoned local expats are wondering whether it’s safe to camp along the largely deserted coastline anymore.

The moderator of the local Internet Talk Baja forum, who has lived in the area for nearly two decades, wrote in an editorial Saturday that “the reality is that the dangers of traveling and camping in remote areas already outweigh the benefits.”

Baja California prosecutors had said they were questioning three people in the case. On Friday, the office said the three had been arrested on charges of a crime equivalent to kidnapping, but that was before the bodies were found. It was unclear whether they could face more charges.

At least one of the suspects was believed to have directly participated in the murders.

Last week, the mother of the missing Australians, Debra Robinson, posted on a local community’s Facebook page an appeal for help finding her children. Robinson said she had not heard from Callum and Jake since April 27. They had booked accommodation in the nearby city of Rosarito.

Robinson said one of his sons, Callum, was diabetic. He also mentioned that the American who was with them was named Jack Carter Rhoad, but the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City did not immediately confirm this. The US State Department said it was aware of reports of a US citizen missing in Baja, but did not provide further details.

In 2015, two Australian surfers, Adam Coleman and Dean Lucas, died in the western state of Sinaloa, across the Gulf of California, also known as the Sea of ​​Cortez, from the Baja California peninsula. Authorities said they were victims of highway bandits. In that case three suspects were arrested.

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