Mexican cops find tents, question people in the case of 2 Australians, 1 American missing in Baja

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican authorities said Thursday they have found tents and questioned three people in the case of two Australians and an American who went missing over the weekend in the Pacific coast state of Baja California.

María Elena Andrade Ramírez, the state’s chief prosecutor, would not say whether the three people questioned were considered possible suspects or witnesses in the case. She said only that some were tied directly to the case, and others indirectly.

But Andrade Ramírez said evidence found along with the abandoned tents was somehow linked to the three. The three foreigners were believed to have been surfing and camping along the Baja coast near the coastal city of Ensenada, but did not show up at their planned accommodations over the weekend.

“A working team (of investigators) is at the site where they were last seen, where tents and other evidence was found that could be linked to these three people we have under investigation,” Andrade Ramírez said. “There is a lot of important information that we can’t make public.”

“We do not know what condition they are in,” she added. While drug cartels are active in the area, she said “all lines of investigation are open at this time. We cannot rule anything out until we find them.”

On Wednesday, the missing Australians’ mother, Debra Robinson, posted on a local community Facebook page an appeal for helping in finding her sons, Jake and Callum. Robinson said her son had not been heard from since Saturday April 27. They had booked accommodations in the nearby city of Rosarito, Baja California.

Robinson said one of her sons, Callum, is diabetic. She also mentioned that the American who was with them was named Jack Carter Rhoad, but the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City did not immediately confirm that. The U.S. State Department said it was aware of reports a U.S. citizen missing in Baja, but gave no further details.

Andrade Ramírez said her office was in contact with Australian and U.S. officials. But she suggested that the time that had passed might make it harder to find them.

“Unfortunately, it wasn’t until the last few days that they were reported missing. So, that meant that important hours or time was lost,” she said.

In 2015, two Australian surfers, Adam Coleman and Dean Lucas, were killed in western Sinaloa state, across the Gulf of California — also known as the Sea of Cortez— from the Baja peninsula. Authorities say they were victims of highway bandits. Three suspects were arrested in that case.

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