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Mother of Australian surfers killed in Mexico pays moving tribute to sons on a San Diego beach
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Mother of Australian surfers killed in Mexico pays moving tribute to sons on a San Diego beach

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The mother of two Australian surfers who died in Mexico paid a moving tribute to her sons on a San Diego beach Tuesday.

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

Her sons, Callum and Jake, were reportedly murdered by car thieves in Baja California, across the border from San Diego, sometime around April 28 or 29.

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

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

Robinson noted that her 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.

Robinson choked back tears and delivered a final message that coincided with her sons’ adventurous lifestyle.

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

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

While she thanked the Mexican ambassador to Australia, she notably did not thank the local officials in Baja California who eventually found the bodies of her sons and Carter Rhoad.

Their killers dumped the men’s bodies in a well about four miles from where they were attacked at a beachside campsite. Investigators were surprised when a fourth body that had been there much longer was found among the bodies of the three foreigners. It was unclear if the body was related to the current case.

The fact that such killers are not caught or stopped 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 her sons’ bodies, or their ashes, will eventually be returned to Australia.

“Now it’s time to bring them home to family and friends,” she said. “And the ocean awaits in Australia.”

Prosecutors have identified three people as potential suspects, two of whom were caught with methamphetamine. One of them, a woman, had a mobile phone belonging to the victims with her when she was caught. Prosecutors said the two were being held pending drug charges but remain suspects in the killings.

A third man was arrested on charges of a crime equivalent to kidnapping, but that was before the bodies were found. It was unclear when or if more charges would be filed against him.

It was believed that the third man had directly participated in the murders. In accordance with Mexican law, prosecutors identified him by his first name, Jesús Gerardo, alias “el Kekas,” a slang word meaning quesadillas or cheese-filled tortillas.

He had a criminal record that included drug dealing, car theft and domestic violence, and authorities said they were confident more people were involved.

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

“I think the heart of the whole country goes out to the parents of Callum and Jake Robinson. It is every parent’s worst nightmare to lose a son or daughter. To lose these two brothers is simply devastating and my deepest condolences and condolences and I am sure the entire nation stands with the parents and other family and friends of these two fine young Australians,” Albanese told Perth Radio 6PR.

Albanese said he was reminded of him when his only child Nathan Albanese traveled to a music festival in Spain last year at the age of 22.

“You worry, but you also think that’s part of the Australian right of passage, backpacking around and meeting people and you’re also growing as a person, so you want to encourage them,” Albanese said.

In 2015, two Australian surfers, Adam Coleman and Dean Lucas, were killed in the western state of Sinaloa, 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 have been arrested in that case.

Follow AP’s coverage of Latin America and the Caribbean at https://apnews.com/hub/latin-america