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Bodies found in Mexico likely those of missing American and two Australians

In this image made from video, Mexico's police officers stand guard at the Ensenada station in Ensenada, Mexico, Thursday, May 2, 2024. Mexican authorities said Thursday they have found tents and questioned a few people in the case of two Australians and an American who went missing over the weekend in the Pacific coast state of Baja California.
AP
In this image made from video, Mexico's police officers stand guard at the Ensenada station in Ensenada, Mexico, Thursday, May 2, 2024. Mexican authorities said Thursday they have found tents and questioned a few people in the case of two Australians and an American who went missing over the weekend in the Pacific coast state of Baja California.

MEXICO CITY — Three bodies recovered in an area of Mexico's Baja California state are likely to be those of the two Australians and an American who went missing last weekend during a camping and surfing trip, the state prosecutor's office said Saturday.

While there has not yet been confirmation based on forensic examination, physical characteristics — including hair and clothing — means there is a high likelihood that the bodies are those of the three tourists, local TV network Milenio reported, citing chief state prosecutor María Elena Andrade Ramírez.

"It is presumed that (the bodies) are the ones being investigated," an employee of the state prosecutors' office who was not authorized to be quoted by name told The Associated Press.

The bodies were found in a well where investigators also found another body that authorities said would be investigated.

"A fourth body was located. It is not related to the three foreigners. The fourth body had been there for a long time," the official added.

The site where the bodies were discovered near the township of Santo Tomás was near the remote seaside area where the missing men's tents and truck were found Thursday along the coast.

The men — identified by family members as brothers Jake and Callum Robinson from Australia and American Jack Carter Rhoad — went missing Saturday. They did not show up at their planned accommodations over the weekend.

The U.S. State Department said: "We are aware of those reports (of bodies) and are closely monitoring the situation. At this time we have no further comment."

Baja California prosecutors had said Thursday that they were questioning three people in the case. On Friday, the office said the three had been arrested on charges of a crime equivalent to kidnapping. It was unclear if they might face more charges.

Andrade Ramírez, the chief state prosecutor, said evidence found along with the abandoned tents was linked to the three people being questioned about the missing foreigners.

Milenio reported that she said the suspects appeared to have stolen the surfers' truck and some of its parts were found in another truck belonging to one of the suspects.

On Wednesday, the missing Australians' mother, Debra Robinson, posted on a local community Facebook page an appeal for help in finding her sons. Robinson said Callum and Jake had not been heard from since April 27. They had booked accommodations in the nearby city of Rosarito.

Robinson said one of her sons, Callum, was diabetic. She also mentioned that the American who was with them was named Jack Carter Rhoad, but the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City did not immediately confirm that. The U.S. State Department said it was aware of reports of a U.S. citizen missing in Baja, but gave no further details.

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 Cortez — from the Baja peninsula. Authorities said they were victims of highway bandits. Three suspects were arrested in that case.

Copyright 2024 NPR