Mexico: two Australian surfers and one American shot to death to steal their car tires

Two Australian surfers and one American were shot to death in an attempted robbery at a beach resort in the Mexican Pacific, confirmed this Sunday the prosecutor's office of the state of Baja California (northwest), where the crime that Australian authorities described as “horrible” was recorded. Relatives identified the bodies of the Australian brothers Jake and Callum Robinson and their American friend Jack Carter, who had traveled to a spa in the municipality of Ensenada.

The surfers were reported missing on April 27. Their bodies were recovered Friday afternoon in a cliff well. “The prosecution confirms that the bodies found in the well in the area known as La Bocana, south of Ensenadacorrespond to those named Jake and Callum, of Australian origin, as well as the American Carter,” the Baja California prosecutor's office detailed in a statement.

The relatives of the Australians, who stayed away from the press, arrived on Saturday from the United States and together with Carter's relatives crossed from California this Sunday. They have been assisted by consular authorities of their countries. “The confirmation comes once the victims' relatives were able to identify them, without the need for genetic tests to be performed,” the statement added.

Jim Chalmers, Treasurer of the Australian Government, He described the situation as “absolutely appalling” in a statement to the press. “I think the hearts of the entire country go out to all their loved ones,” he said. Mexican Foreign Minister Alicia Bárcena expressed her condolences in a statement. The Foreign Ministry “maintained a constant and direct dialogue with the Australian ambassador to Mexico, Rachel Elizabeth Moseley, and her team, to support the efforts of the diplomatic mission,” she said. According to Australian media, Jake was 30 years old, his brother Callum was 33, and the American Jack was 30.

“Hole by projectile”

At noon on Sunday, state prosecutor María Elena Andrade said in a press conference that The motive for the crime would be to steal the truck, especially the tires, in which the tourists were traveling. Andrade explained that presumably the foreign tourists entered an isolated area without cell phone communication to ask for help in case of an accident. There they would have been intercepted by alleged criminals to seize their truck, which was later found on fire.

“The aggressors take out a weapon that they had in their possession and deprive the life of the person who initially opposed the robbery.” and later they attack the other two (…) and also deprive them of their lives,” said the prosecutor. “They all have a hole produced by a firearm projectile in the head,” Andrade added.

Mexican authorities point out that the murder of foreign surfers was due to robberyAlexander ZepedaEFE Agency

For this case, On Friday, the prosecutor's office arrested a man accused of “disappearance committed by private individuals”. He has a history related to violence, drug sales and robbery. They also captured two other people, including a woman, investigated for their probable participation in the same crime and for carrying methamphetamines. Before the identity of the victims was confirmed, the prosecutor said that, if the death of the surfers was confirmed, the charge would go from “disappearance committed by private individuals” to “aggravated homicide.”

“Beaches, security, freedom”

According to official figures, Mexico closed 2023 with just over 41 million foreign visitors, more than half of them Americans. The beaches are the main destination. In Ensenada, very popular among Americans because it is about 100 km from the border, dozens of surf fans demonstrated this Sunday to demand greater security. “Beaches, security, freedom, peace” or “No more deaths” were some of the messages that were read on the boards converted into banners.

The murdered surfers had already visited Mexico, indicated the prosecutor based on stories from family members. “They comment that on many occasions they came to participate in their favorite sport, they never had anything to regret,” she said, insisting that the crime would not have had to do with their status as foreign tourists. On Callum's Instagram account you can see some images of her stay in the Mexican Pacific, toasting with beer, eating tacos, relaxing in a jacuzzi or preparing to surf.

Mexican authorities point out that the murder of foreign surfers was due to robbery
Mexican authorities point out that the murder of foreign surfers was due to robberyAlexander ZepedaEFE Agency

According to Australian media, Callum played professionally in the American lacrosse league and Jake is a doctor based in Perth. The authorities found a fourth body in the well, but they rule out having anything to do with the surfers' case since it had been abandoned for longer. Other foreign tourists visiting the Mexican Pacific area have been the target of criminal attacks.

Homicides in Mexico
Homicides in MexicoTania NietoThe reason

In November 2015, two Australian surfers, Dean Lucas and Adam Coleman, were murdered and their bodies later burned while traveling through the state of Sinaloa (northwest). The spiral of criminal violence that engulfs Mexico leaves more than 450,000 dead and more than 100,000 missing since the end of 2006, when the federal government launched a controversial military anti-drug operation.