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May 28, 2024

Three bodies found amid search for 2 missing Australians, 1 American in Mexico

Three bodies found amid search for 2 missing Australians, 1 American in Mexico

Three people were found dead in Santo Tomas, Baja California, as authorities search for two Australians and one American who went missing last weekend in the coastal Mexican state, FBI San Diego said in a statement Friday.

The FBI said it was in contact with the family of the U.S. citizen but declined to provide further details, including identifications of the bodies.

On Thursday, Mexican authorities said they were questioning three people in the disappearance of the three men, but María Elena Andrade Ramírez, the chief prosecutor in Baja California, would not say whether those questioned were suspects or witnesses, only that some were tied to the case directly and others indirectly.

Andrade Ramírez also said at the time that tents and other evidence — including a cell phone that may have belonged to one of the missing men and a white pickup — were found and were somehow connected to the three missing men.

She said a team of investigators was at the site where they were last seen, parsing through the “tents and other evidence” that were found there and could have been connected.

“There is a lot of important information that we can’t make public,” Andrade Ramírez said at the time.

She added the conditions of the three men were unknown and acknowledged the presence of active drug cartels in the area, adding “all lines of investigation are open at this time. We cannot rule anything out until we find them.”

The three men — identified as Jake Robinson, Callum Robinson and Jack Carter Rhoad — were thought to have been surfing and camping in Baja California along the coast near the city of Ensenada.

From left, Jack Carter, Jake Robinson, and Callum Robinson.NBC News

They were considered missing Saturday when they did not arrive at their Airbnb in the nearby city of Rosarito, according to a Facebook post from Jake and Callum Robinson’s mother, Debra Robinson.

Debra Robinson posted in a local community page Wednesday looking for help finding her sons. She wrote that she had not heard from them since Saturday, which is when they were set to show up in Rosarito.

In the post, she wrote that Callum Robinson is diabetic and mentioned that her sons were with Carter.

The U.S. Embassy in Mexico did not immediately confirm at the time that Carter was one of the missing men. The U.S. State Department said at the time it was aware of reports of a missing American in the area but did not provide more information.

A spokesperson for the Ensenada municipality subsequently said a fourth body was discovered where the other three were found and was also unidentified so far. Possible links between the deceased remained a mystery Saturday.

Andrade Ramírez on Thursday said her office was in touch with officials from both the U.S. and Australia on the case, but also said the time that had passed between when they went missing and when they were reported missing could make it harder to locate the three men.

The peninsula’s Pacific coast has been a staple destination for United States surfers for 60 years — breakout documentary “The Endless Summer” sampled its waves in ’64 — but the U.S. State Department has more recently urged Americans to avoid Baja travel as murderous drug cartel violence has gripped Tijuana and points south.

Rebecca Cohen

Rebecca Cohen is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

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