Bodies of murdered Australian and American surfers identified in Mexico

The trio were allegedly murdered while attempting to steal their pickup truck.

Tijuana, Mexico:

Relatives on Sunday identified the bodies of two Australians and an American shot dead in a suspected robbery in Mexico, authorities said, marking a tragic end to the search for the missing surfers.

According to officials in the crime-hit state of Baja California, the bodies were found with gunshot wounds to their heads, indicating an execution-style triple murder.

The news confirmed the worst fears of the families and friends of Australian brothers Callum and Jake Robinson, and their American friend Jack Carter, who were on a surfing trip to Mexico's Pacific coast.

The trio were allegedly killed while trying to steal their pickup truck, prosecutor Maria Elena Andrade said at a news conference.

The vehicle, which was burned out, was found nearby.

Prosecutors later confirmed that the bodies had been formally identified as those of the missing surfers.

“The victims' relatives were able to identify them without the need for genetic testing,” the statement said.

Australian Treasurer Jim Chalmers described the news as “terrible” and said “the hearts of the entire country go out to all their loved ones.

“It has been an absolutely terrible, absolutely horrific ordeal and our thoughts are with them all,” the senior minister said.

According to Mexican prosecutors, three suspects, two men and a woman, have been arrested on suspicion of involvement in the case.

One of those arrested has a history of violence, drug trafficking and theft, officials said.

Investigators previously said the bodies were recovered from a shaft on a cliff in an “advanced state of decomposition.”

Another body found at the site had been there longer and was unrelated to the others, officials said.

AFP journalists saw authorities using a pulley system on Friday to extract the mud-covered bodies from the shaft near the town of Santo Thomas, about 45 kilometers southeast of Ensenada.

'Tragic loss'

The mother of the Australian brothers, Debra Robinson, had raised the alarm on a Facebook page for Baja California tourists a few days ago after the young men broke off contact.

“I am contacting anyone who has seen my two sons. They have not contacted us since Saturday April 27,” she wrote, attaching a poster of friends desperate for news of their whereabouts.

A missing poster shared on social media said Callum Robinson was 33 and his brother Jake was 30. Their friend was named Jack Carter Rhoad, aged 30.

The friends had visited Mexico several times without any problems, Andrade said.

Callum Robinson's Instagram page featured several images from the trio's Mexico trip: feet up enjoying a beer in a bar, lazing in a jacuzzi, eating roadside tacos, looking out over the surf.

Callum had played in the US Premier Lacrosse League, who left a message on his website saying the lacrosse world was “heartbroken by the tragic loss” of the trio.

“We offer our hearts, support and prayers to the Robinson and Rhoad families, as well as to all who loved Callum, Jake and Jack,” the statement said.

Jake Robinson was a doctor in Perth, according to Australian media.

Baja California is known for its inviting beaches and its resorts are popular with American tourists, partly due to its proximity to the border.

It is also one of the most violent states in Mexico due to organized crime gangs, although foreign tourists are generally not bothered by cartel activity.

Dozens of surfers protested in Ensenada on Sunday with messages on their signs including “beaches, safety, freedom, peace” and “no more deaths.”

The case mirrors that of two Australian surfers who were murdered and their bodies burned while traveling through the northwestern Mexican state of Sinaloa in November 2015.

Criminal violence in Mexico has claimed 450,000 lives and led to more than 100,000 disappearances since late 2006, when the government launched a controversial anti-drug strategy involving the military.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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