Carolina Herrera's nephew, Reinaldo Jose Herrera, 38, was brutally murdered on Thursday night alongside his business partner, 31-year-old Fabrizio Mendoza. Their bodies were found inside a truck outside of the capital of Venezuela. The fashion icon's nephew had been kidnapped by a Venezuelan gang.
The bodies of the men were found on a highway that connected Caracas to the city of La Guaira, according to a statement from the public prosecutor's office. NBC 6 South reported that the group then asked for a ransom for the two men. The shocking news was reported according to a statement from the public prosecutor's office on Friday as cited by Page Six.
NBC 6 South Florida later reported that Herrera's nephew was having dinner with his business partner, Fabrizio Mendoza, 31, at a restaurant in Caracas when they were both allegedly abducted by a gang of criminals.
In 2013, Venezuela was dubbed the "kidnap capital of the world," with five people kidnapped and held ransom there daily. It was reported that the ransom was allegedly paid. However, both men were found dead later that night.
Herrera wrote a message back to those who sent their condolences and support following the gruesome slayings.
"Thank you so much for all your thoughtful messages. The family and I appreciate your kindness. Our only hope is that the tragic assassination of our young nephew, Reinaldo and his colleague, Fabrizio will serve to mitigate the terrible carnage and murders that are committed against our youth in Venezuela. The Electoral Results must be respected. The Communist Dictatorship must go. -Carolina Herrera"
Venezuela has among the highest murder rates in the world. In 2016 alone, 70 homicides occurred per every 100,000 inhabitants. This number is also the highest figure in the country's history. Venezuela has also been plagued by an economic and social crisis within the past year. In the country, intense inflation is driving up food prices to incredibly high amounts. This problem has left many in the country without food or basic medical care, according to Reuters.
There have been daily protests with upset protesters throwing rocks, petrol bombs, and feces at authority. They are being met with tear gas and rubber bullets.
In the past two months, chaos has erupted in the streets as many have called for President Nicolas Maduro to step down. The protests have turned deadly over the past month, and Maduro has caught criticism from the international community for his treatment and prosecution of demonstrators, according to the New York Times.
Millions of Venezuelans suffer from food and medicine shortage. Sadly, the country's inflation figure is thought to be the highest in the entire world. There has been no official data published in a year.
The bolivar currency is down a whopping 99 percent on the black market against the dollar. The events have occurred since 2013, when President Nicolas Maduro was elected. According to Reuters, if $1,000 was saved then it would be worth less than $5 now.
Reinaldo Herrera was the son of Luis Felipe Herrera Guevara. Guevara's brother, Reinaldo Herrera, is the husband of Carolina Herrera, according to the Daily Mail.Maduro has raised the minimum wage twice but blames the crisis on the opposition in addition to the U.S. government. On May 1, 2017, wages went up 60 percent to the equivalent of around a dollar a day on the black market exchange rate.
Venezuela's National Assembly said Thursday that prices went up 16.5 percent between March and April. The government blames the crisis on opposition "coup-plotters, backed, it says, by the U.S. government," according to Reuters.
Juan Miguel Matheus, an opposition congressman in the state of Carabobo, said at least 69 people there had been jailed by the military since early April. "Military justice sows the greatest terror in our population."Other reports have noted that at least 120 people have been jailed by military courts since early April. All occurred when demonstrators began taking to the streets to call for new elections, according to Penal Forum, a legal group assisting those arrested. Another group monitoring cases, Provea, counted at least 90 people jailed by the military.
The groups have contended that Venezuela has never used the military courts against so many civilians this way outside of wartime.
Herrera is scheduled to receive the 2017 Designer of Excellence award in Chicago on Monday, TMZ reported. There is no word if the ceremony will go on as scheduled. Herrera will receive the award in part for the dresses she's crafted for first ladies such as Jacqueline Onassis and Michelle Obama.
[Featured Image by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images]