TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — Two bodies thought to be those of Miss Honduras 2014 and her sister have been found buried near the spa where they disappeared six days ago, the Honduran police chief said Wednesday.
Authorities were awaiting confirmation from forensic officials that the victims are Maria José Alvarado, 19, and her sister, Sofia, 23, Gen. Ramón Sabillón said.
Sabillón said Sofia’s boyfriend, Plutarco Ruiz, confessed to killing the sisters and led authorities to the bodies buried in a river bank in Santa Barbara, about 240 miles west of Tegucigalpa.
Both women were shot and appeared to have been killed the night they disappeared, Thursday, Sabillón said. They had gone to La Aguagua spa to celebrate Ruiz’s birthday.
“They were not very astute about assessing the people around them. They were just friendly,” the sisters’ mother, Teresa Muñoz, told the television station Televicentro. “They were taken out by people they hadn’t known very long.”
An alleged accomplice, Aris Maldonado, also was being held.
Sabillón said Ruiz apparently shot Sofia because she was dancing with another man. After a fierce argument, he pulled out a pistol and fired at Sofia first, then at Maria José as she tried to flee. The beauty queen was shot at least twice in the back, Sabillón said.
Muñoz said Ruiz called her the following morning, seeming nervous and claiming that the young women had left the party in a car with some other people.
Maria José Alvarado was crowned Miss Honduras in April and was expected to compete in the Miss World pageant in London next month. A pageant representative said Honduras would not compete in the contest this year, given the tragedy.
Honduras, overrun with street gangs and drug trafficking, has the highest homicide 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.
Women and girls are increasingly fleeing rape and kidnappings in Honduras and other Central American nations, with many seeking asylum in the United States.
In the South American nation of Venezuela, which also suffers from high crime, a former Miss Venezuela and popular soap-opera actress, Monica Spear, was killed with her husband during a robbery in January.