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Mother of Australian surfers killed in Mexico gives moving tribute to sons

MEXICO CITY (AP) – The mother of two Australian surfers killed in Mexico paid a moving tribute to his sons Tuesday on a beach in San Diego.

“Our hearts are broken and the world has become a darker place for us,” Debra Robinson said, holding back tears. “They were young men who enjoyed their passion for surfing together.”

His sons, Callum and Jake, were allegedly killed by car thieves in Baja California, across the border from San Diego, around April 28 or 29.

Robinson also mourned the American who was killed with them, Jack Carter Rhoad.

The beachfront location where she spoke, across the border from the Baja California city of Tijuana, was no coincidence. She noted that her son Callum “considered the United States his second home.”

Robinson noted that his son Jake loved surfing so much that, as a doctor, he enjoyed working in hospitals near the beach.

“Jake’s passion was surfing, and it was no coincidence that many of the hospitals he worked at were close to surfing beaches,” she said.

Choking back tears, Robinson delivered a final message that coincided with his sons’ adventurous lifestyle.

“Live bigger, shine brighter and love brighter in their memory,” she said.

Robinson thanked Australian officials and their supporters there and in the United States.

Although she thanked the Mexican ambassador to Australia, she notably did not thank the local authorities in Baja California who ultimately found the bodies of his sons and Carter Rhoad.

Their killers dumped the men’s bodies in a well about 6 kilometers from where they had been attacked at a seaside campsite. Investigators were surprised when, beneath the bodies of the three foreigners, a fourth body was found. been discovered, which had been there for much longer. It was unclear whether the body was connected to the current case.

The fact that these killers go uncaught or arrested in the vast majority of cases in Mexico has led some Mexicans to protest that authorities only investigate such disappearances when they are high-profile cases involving foreigners.

Robinson said his sons’ bodies, or their ashes, would ultimately be returned to Australia.

“Now is the time to return them to their families and friends,” she said. “And the ocean waits in Australia.”

Prosecutors identified three people as potential suspects, two of whom were arrested in 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’s unclear when or if he might 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-filled tortillas.

His criminal record included drug trafficking, vehicle theft and domestic violence, and authorities said they were certain other people were involved.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told a radio station in the Robinsons’ hometown of Perth, Western Australia, that all parents felt the loss of the family.

“I think the hearts of the whole nation go out to the parents of Callum and Jake Robinson. It’s every parent’s worst nightmare to lose a son or daughter. Losing these two brothers is just horrible and my deepest sympathies and condolences and I’m sure the entire nation is with the parents and other family and friends of these two young Australians,” Albanese told Perth Radio 6PR.

Albanese said it reminded him of his only child, Nathan Albanese’s, trip last year, when he was 22, to a music festival in Spain.

“You worry, but you also think it’s part of the Australian right of passage, traveling with a backpack and meeting people and that’s also how you grow as a person, so you want to encourage them,” Albanese said.

In 2015, two australian surfers, Adam Coleman and Dean Lucas, were killed in western Sinaloa state, across the Gulf of California – also known as the Sea of ​​Cortés – from the Baja Peninsula. Authorities said they were victims of highwaymen. Three suspects were arrested in this case.


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