Police: Miss Honduras, sister apparently killed

World Today

Miss Honduras Maria Jose Alvarado

Two bodies believed to belong to Miss Honduras 2014 and her sister have been found buried near the spa where they disappeared six days ago, the Honduras National Police said on Wednesday.

Authorities were awaiting confirmation from forensic officials that the victims are Maria Jose Alvarado, 19, and her sister, Sofia, 23.

Police said Sofia’s boyfriend, Plutarco Ruiz, confessed to killing the sisters on Tuesday and led authorities to the bodies buried in a river bank in a mountainous area of Santa Barbara, about 240 miles (400 kilometres) west of Tegucigalpa.

They were found near La Aguagua spa, where they had gone on Thursday to celebrate Ruiz’s birthday.

Both women, who grew up in the area, were shot to death and appeared to have been killed the night they disappeared, according to police.

An alleged accomplice, Aris Maldonado, was also being held.

Maria Jose Alvarado was crowned Miss Honduras in April. Alvarado had been scheduled to leave for London on Sunday to compete in the Miss World 2014 pageant.

Honduras, overrun with streets gangs and drug trafficking, has the highest murder rate in the world for a country not at war, with an estimated 90 to 95 killings per 100,000 people.

It is one of Latin America’s poorest countries and earlier this year was the main source of a surge in unaccompanied minors migrating to the United States, many to escape the violence.

This story is compiled with information from the Associated Press.