Mexico: Mysterious disappearance of tourists

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in San Diego, California, confirmed the discovery of the three dead, but did not provide further information on their possible identities. Santo Tomas was located 45 kilometers north of the coastal town of Ensenada. It is about 130 kilometers south of the US-Mexico state border near San Diego and Tijuana in the state of Baja California.

The missing were two Australian citizens, Jake and Calum Robertson, and a friend, American Jack Carter. They were last seen on Saturday last week. The trio had planned a camping and surfing vacation near Ensenada.

Mom raised the alarm

Debra Robinson, the mother of the two brothers, finally raised the alarm via Facebook when the trio did not show up at their booked accommodation. In a Facebook group about Baja California, the woman wrote that she was reaching out to anyone who might have seen her sons; According to a report in the New York Times on Saturday, 120,000 people read his message.

Reuters/George Dunes

Forensic experts at the scene where the bodies were found

According to media reports, a burnt-out pickup truck and cellphones belonging to the missing persons were found. Located in the extreme northwest of Mexico, between the Pacific Ocean and its tributary the California Gold, Baja California is a popular vacation spot for surfers, especially from the United States. It borders California and Arizona. However, the state has also been hit hard by Mexico’s drug war.

“Crucial hours” were lost in the search

Both Mexican and U.S. officials have held back from providing detailed information about the discovery of the three dead. Earlier Thursday, Baja California Attorney General Maria Elena Andrade Ramirez told a news conference that security officials were searching for three people linked to the disappearance of the tourists. However, a lot of valuable time has passed since then. Many “vital hours” were lost.

Emergency services are searching the beach

Reuters/George Dunes

Police officers – before the bodies were found – searched for the missing holidaymakers on the beach

According to the Attorney General, on Friday morning (local time) three male bodies were found in a well about 15 meters deep near Santo Tomas. There is “overwhelming” reason to believe they are missing tourists. The forensic department wants to carry out DNA tests to clarify the case.

It may have been a deliberate attempt to steal

There is only speculation about the possible motive. It’s possible, the New York Times reported Saturday, citing Mexican authorities that three suspected criminals wanted to steal a vacationer’s vehicle. When they refused, one of them shot them and then tried to hide the bodies. The suspect is in custody. The US newspaper quoted Ramirez as saying it was not a deliberate act.

Horrifying statistics

According to a report in the New York Times, a fourth male body was found very close to where the three bodies were found, but he has not yet been identified but has no connection to the case of the three surfers. In 2022, 192 US citizens died in Mexico, the newspaper said, citing data from the State Department in Washington, most of them in accidents, while 46 were considered victims of violent acts.

Either way, the crime statistics in the state on America’s southern border are significant. Baja California is the region with the highest number of car thefts in Mexico and the second highest homicide rate among all states, often related to drug trafficking or organized crime. An estimated 100,000 people have disappeared across Mexico.

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