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Thursday, May 30, 2024

‘Truly loved’: parents pay tribute to sons murdered in Mexico

The world has become a darker place for two Australian parents after their sons were murdered during a surfing trip in Mexico.

Debra and Martin Robinson are preparing to bring home the remains of their sons Callum, 33, and Jake, 30, to “the ocean waves of Australia” after travelling across the world to confirm the identities of their bodies.

Originally from Perth, the brothers were travelling with their American friend Carter Rhoad, 30, in the state of Baja California when they failed to check into their accommodation.

A few days later Mexican police arrived at their last known whereabouts and found a campsite covered in blood.

The three bodies were discovered in a well soon after.

“It is with heavy hearts that we share the news that Callum and Jake Robinson have been murdered,” Mrs Robinson told reporters after travelling to Mexico from San Diego, California, where Callum lived.

“Our hearts are broken and the world has become a darker place for us.”

Baja California is well known for beautiful beaches and tiny villages and the trio’s last images on social media showed them enjoying these sites.

But the northern border state is rife with violent crime, with the Australian government’s Smartraveller website warning of drug-related crime and gang violence.

Baja California state prosecutors believe the alleged killers were driving by when they spotted the trio’s ute.

They attempted to steal its tyres and parts but the men resisted.

All three were found with bullet wounds to the head.

The alleged murderers attempted to destroy the evidence, burning the tent and driving the ute away before setting it alight.

The bodies were dumped in a four-metre deep well about 6km away, on top of a fourth body prosecutors say had been there much longer.

Three suspects are being held in connection with the case – two were caught with methamphetamine and one had one of the victim’s phones – but prosecutors believe more offenders may have been involved.

A criminal charge of forced disappearance, equivalent to kidnapping, was laid against one of the three on Saturday.

The man, Jesus Gerardo, has a criminal record of drug dealing, vehicle theft and domestic violence.

The Robinson brothers’ father thanked everyone involved in the effort to find out what happened to his sons and for their support, including the Department of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Minister Penny Wong, Australia’s ambassador to Mexico and the Australian Federal Police.

Mrs Robinson said her sons and their friend Mr Rhoad were “young men enjoying their passion of surfing together”. 

“We have been overwhelmed with the outpouring of emotions and support that we have received,” she said.

“We know they were truly loved and impacted many lives.”

The older brother was a loveable, larger-than-life character who considered the US his second home, his mother said.

He played professional lacrosse in the US Premier Lacrosse League and represented Australia at the world championships.

His brother Jake was a “happy, gentle and compassionate soul” who was chasing a career in medicine.

He was a “cricket tragic” and loved live music and festivals.

“Now it’s time to bring them home to family and friends and the ocean waves of Australia,” Mrs Robinson said.

“Please, live bigger, shine brighter and love harder in their memory.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said his heart went out to the Robinson family.

“It is every parent’s worst nightmare to lose a child,” he told reporters in Perth on Wednesday.

“To lose these two brothers in such a manner at this time is a cause of incredible sorrow.”

In 2016, Adam Coleman and Dean Lucas – two surfers from Perth – were killed while travelling through Mexico’s Sinaloa state.

with AP

By Kat Wong in Canberra

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