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Photo source: ANI

Ensenada (Mexico), May 6, 2024 (ANI): The discovery of three bodies with gunshot wounds to the head and dumped in a well have been confirmed as those of missing tourists, including a US citizen, Mexican authorities revealed on Sunday. CNN reports this.

Relatives of American Jack Carter Rhoad and Australian brothers Jake and Callum Robinson were able to positively identify the bodies without resorting to genetic testing, as stated by the Baja California Attorney General’s Office in a Sunday statement.

Following the grim discovery, three Mexican citizens, who had previously been questioned in connection with the tourists’ disappearance, have been arrested on suspicion of kidnapping, as announced by the attorney general’s office. Among the suspects, one was identified as Jesus Gerardo “N,” also known as “El Kekas,” according to CNN.

The trio of friends disappeared on April 29 during a surfing and camping expedition near the city of Ensenada, about 60 miles (90 kilometers) south of Tijuana. Authorities believe they are victims of murder.

Baja California Attorney General Maria Elena Andrade Ramirez met Sunday with the victims’ parents and reaffirmed the institution’s unwavering commitment to continue the investigation until those responsible face full prosecution under the law.

Authorities suggested the surfers may have been targeted in an attempted car theft, citing preliminary investigations. Although Baja California has seen a lot of cartel violence in recent years, such incidents are rare in tourist centers like Ensenada.

A charred white pickup truck, matching the one Callum Robinson had shared on Instagram a week before their disappearance, was discovered at a ranch in Santo Tomas, about 40 miles from the pit where the bodies were found, a local police source revealed CNN.

The Mexican Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Sunday expressing its condolences, expressing solidarity with the families of the victims and deploring the tragic turn of events.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs stands in solidarity with the families of the victims of this tragic event and deeply regrets the outcome of the events,” the statement said.

While certain regions of Mexico remain popular tourist destinations, the country struggles with widespread violent crime, including kidnapping and human trafficking, especially in border areas. Mexico’s murder rate is among the highest in the world, with more than 100,000 still missing.

In a similar incident in 2015, the bodies of Australian surfers Dean Lucas and Adam Coleman were discovered in a burned-out van in Sinaloa state. Authorities attributed their deaths to low-level drug dealers who engaged in robbing motorists, CNN reported. (ANI)