Bodies found in Mexico where Australian, US tourists went missing

May 5, 2024 - 3:56 PM
Members of a rescue team work at a site where three bodies were found in the state of Baja California where one American and two Australian tourists were reported missing, in La Bocana, Mexico May 3, 2024. (Reuters/Francisco Javier Cruz/File Photo)

 Mexican authorities have located three bodies in the state of Baja California where one American and two Australian tourists were reported missing, the local prosecutor’s office said in a statement late on Friday.

Australian brothers Callum, 33, and Jake Robinson, 30, and American Carter Rhoad, 30, were last seen on April 27, the Baja California state prosecutor’s office previously announced. It referred to the missing American as Jack Carter Rhoad.

Forensic tests on the remains will be conducted by a state laboratory which will allow for positive identification of the bodies, the prosecutor’s office said in its statement.

Investigators continue to search the rugged area where the bodies were found for additional evidence, the statement added.

The three men were on vacation surfing near the popular tourist town of Ensenada, about 90 minutes south of the U.S.-Mexico border.

On Thursday, state prosecutor Socorro Ibarra said that three people were being investigated in connection with the case. Her office noted on Friday that arrest warrants have been obtained for the crime of forced disappearance.

Tents were found in the area where the missing men were last seen, said Ibarra, adding that they were formally reported missing days after their actual disappearance.

A burnt white pickup truck was also found in the area, authorities said.

Baja California is one of Mexico’s most violent states, although the Ensenada area is considered safer. The U.S. State Department advises Americans to reconsider travel to the state due to crime and kidnapping.

Asked about the discovery of the bodies, a U.S. State Department spokesperson said: “We are aware of those reports and are closely monitoring the situation.”

A spokesperson for Australia’s foreign ministry said their embassy in Mexico was working closely with Mexican authorities and the Australian Federal Police.

“The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade recognizes this is a very distressing time for the family and is in regular contact with them to provide support.”

— Reporting by Lizbeth Diaz; Writing by Brendan O’Boyle; Editing by Stephen Eisenhammer, Sandra Maler and Sam Holmes