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3 surfers from Australia and the U.S. were killed in Mexico’s Baja California. Here’s what we know.

Two Australians and an American were doing what they loved on the beautiful, largely isolated stretch of Baja California’s Pacific coast. Their latest images on social media showed them sitting and watching the waves.

What ended their lives may have been as random as a pickup truck full of people with bad intentions. The surfers were shot in the head and their bodies dumped in a covered well miles away. Here’s what we know:

Who were the victims?

Australian brothers Jake and Callum Robinson and American Jack Carter Rhoad had apparently stopped to surf the spots between Punta San José, about 50 miles south of Ensenada, and La Bocana, further north on the coast.

Callum Robinson’s Instagram page showed several images from the trio’s trip to Mexico: drinking beers with their feet up at a bar, lazing in a jacuzzi, eating roadside tacos, watching the waves.

Photos of the missing foreign surfers are placed on the beach in Ensenada, Mexico, Sunday, May 5, 2024. Mexican authorities announced Friday that three bodies were found in an area of ​​Baja California near where two Australians and an American went missing for the last time. weekend during an apparent camping and surfing trip.

Karen Castaneda/AP

Callum, who stood six feet four inches tall, had played in the American Premier Lacrosse League, which left a message on its 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, and to all those who loved Callum, Jake and Jack,” it read.

On social media, his devastated girlfriend shared a black and white photo of the couple kissing, with the message: “You are one of them. I will love you forever.”

In another photo she shared, in which they can be seen kissing, she wrote: “My heart is broken into a million pieces. I have no words right now.”

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

Rhoad was engaged and was set to marry Natalie Weirtz on Aug. 17 in Columbus, Ohio, according to an online Zola wedding registry. A GoFundMe launched to “rally support for Natalie” had raised more than $57,000 as of Tuesday morning.

“Following the heartbreaking loss of Carter Rhoad, Callum Robinson and Jake Robinson, our hearts ache for their families, friends and community,” reads a separate GoFundMe created for Rhoad’s family.

What happened to them?

The three friends were attacked there on April 28 or 29.

As soon as police arrived at their last known campsite, it was clear something was seriously wrong.

There were bloodstains and marks “as if heavy objects had been dragged”, which suggests an attack, said the Baja California state prosecutor’s office, trying to reconstruct the scene.

Chief prosecutor María Elena Andrade Ramírez described what likely would have been moments of terror that ended the three men’s journey.

She theorized that the killers drove by and saw the strangers’ van and tents and wanted to steal the truck’s tires and other parts. But “when (the foreigners) came and caught them, they surely resisted.”

FILE PHOTO: Members of a rescue team work at a site where three bodies were found in the state of Baja California where an American and two Australian tourists were reported missing, in La Bocana, Mexico, on 3 May 2024.

Francisco Javier Cruz / REUTERS

She said that was when the killers allegedly shot the men. She added that they probably weren’t attacked because they were tourists. “The evidence suggests they (the killers) didn’t know where they came from.”

Andrade Ramírez said the reconstruction of the events was based on the medical examiner’s reports, noting that all three had gunshot wounds to the head.

There was a hasty attempt to destroy the evidence. The foreigners’ tents were reportedly set on fire. The van was driven miles away and set on fire. The attackers’ truck was later found with a gun inside.

Then, at “a site extremely difficult to access”, the bodies were thrown into a well located approximately 6 kilometers away. Investigators were surprised when, beneath the bodies of the three foreigners, a fourth body was discovered, which had been there for much longer.

“They must have known about it,” Andrade Ramírez said of the attackers, acknowledging the possibility that they were behind the previous killing.

The well had been covered with planks. “It was practically impossible to find him,” Andrade Ramírez said. It took two hours to extract the bodies.

Who are the suspects?

Prosecutors said they were questioning three people in connection with the killings. Two were arrested for possession of methamphetamines. One of them, a woman, had one of the victims’ cell phones when she was arrested. Prosecutors said both men were being held pending drug charges but remained suspects in the killings.

A third man was arrested for a crime amounting to kidnapping, but that was before the bodies were found. It is unclear whether he could face further charges.

The third man is said to have directly participated in the murders. In accordance with Mexican law, prosecutors identified him by his first name, Jesús Gerardo, aka “el Kekas,” a slang word meaning quesadillas or cheese tortillas.

Andrade Ramírez said he had a criminal record that included drug trafficking, vehicle theft and domestic violence, adding: “We are sure more people were involved.”

She stressed that she could not discuss anything regarding the suspects, or their possible statements, because it was not allowed under Mexican law and could harm the case against them.

Aerial view of National Guard vehicles guarding a state attorney’s investigation at the site where three surfers camped before disappearing last week during a surf trip in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico, May 6, 2024. The Baja California State Prosecution Office confirmed the death of Australian brothers Jake and Callum Robinson and their American friend Jack Carte on May 5.


Andrade Ramírez pointed out that the victims’ families said that the brothers and Rhoad had come to the seaside several times and never had any problems. But this time, “there was no way to ask for help when the attackers showed up.”

And after?

In a statement to CBS News, the FBI said it “continues to work with our international law enforcement partners to resolve this ongoing situation” and has been in contact with the family of the American victim .

“While we cannot comment on specifics in order to preserve the sanctity of the investigative and legal processes, as well as to protect the privacy of those involved, we can assure you that we evaluate each piece of information. If credible, We will pursue these avenues rigorously.” » said the FBI.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Tuesday he had asked to speak to the brothers’ parents, Deborah and Martin Robinson.

“This is a terrible tragedy and my heart goes out to them. To identify these wonderful young men, they traveled to Mexico. We dealt with them through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. I indicated that I would like to speak to them at an appropriate time of their choosing,” Albanese told reporters in the Queensland state city of Rockhampton.

Bodies of three surfers missing in Mexico identified, suspects in custody

AFP contributed to this report.

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