Two Australian surfers, missing since November 20, are feared dead after a charred van with two bodies inside was found in Sinaloa.
Dean Lucas and Adam Coleman, both 33, were on a surfing trip from Canada to Mexico and were scheduled to arrive in the city of Guadalajara on November 21. However, the pair never arrived. Eyewitnesses reported seeing the two men entering an all-night convenience store in the coastal Mexican city of Los Mochis, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. The witness said the pair seemed to be in a hurry and were looking to purchase a map. That was the last time anyone laid eyes on the surfers.
The next day, a Chevrolet van, identical to the one being driven by Lucas and Coleman, was discovered completely charred in the city of Navolato, located in the state of Sinaloa, which is known as the home of the Sinaloa drug cartel. The van was approximately 200 kilometers from the convenience store they visited the night before. Inside the van were two bodies so badly burned that they couldn’t immediately be identified.
“Our consular staff have been working around the clock to determine their whereabouts,” Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said during an interview on Tuesday. “A vehicle registered in the name of one of the Western Australian men has been located. There are human remains and these are yet to be formally identified.”
— lyndacuba (@lyndacuba) November 27, 2015
“We are working closely with the family, keeping the family informed of whatever we know and I understand that family members, a partner, will be traveling to the United States and then to Mexico to help with the identification,” she added.
Andrea Gomez, Coleman’s girlfriend, was supposed to meet the pair in Guadalajara, and said she feels partly responsible for the men traveling through the dangerous area at night.
“They hurried to get here and I think they travelled by night,” Gomez said. “I had told them of insecurity, but never told them of the horrible things that could happen. I feel a little responsible for that.”
— Mashable (@mashable) December 1, 2015
Gomez and Lucas’ girlfriend Josie Cox were traveling to Culiacan, the capital of Sinaloa, to confirm if the bodies were in fact their boyfriend’s. Gomez was taking one of Coleman’s dreadlocks to be tested for DNA, while Cox was taking Lucas’ dental records.
“The van matches… but we have nothing confirmed yet, so Josie arrives today to Mexico from Canada, and early Monday morning we will go to Culiacan to see the bodies and testing of DNA,” Gomez explained.
On Monday, Lucas’ sister, Michelle Lucas, shared a statement about her brother and his friend on Facebook.
“My brother Dean and Adam have been travelling for over 15 years, living in countries that lots of people may not consider safe but doing what they love, and following the good waves, and sharing their love of the travelling life with others,” she wrote. “They spoke Spanish, among other languages, and have done things that many people in their lifetime don’t get to do or are too scared to do.”
— ABC News Perth (@abcnewsPerth) December 1, 2015
“They are NOT naive, they are NOT tourists, they are travellers. This is an absolute tragedy and I see lots of people either blaming the boys or blaming the country,” Lucas continued. “”Let’s concentrate on the fact that two people are missing and they mean everything to a lot of people. THANK YOU to everyone all over the world for the love and support that you have given my family, Adam’s and loved ones.”
A GoFundMe page was created to help the men’s families make the trip to Mexico. So far, $50,015 of the $60,000 goal has been raised for the families.
“The monies will be spent to send both parents over to Mexico plus accommodation, associated costs while there, and to bring both Dean and Adam home back to Western Australia and all associated funeral costs,” the fundraising page reads.
[Image via Facebook/Josie Cox]