Miss Honduras Accused Killers Refuse to Testify

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The man, along with three accomplices, accused of killing Miss Honduras and her sister, refused to testify during their first court appearance on Tuesday.

Miss Honduras and Miss World contestant Maria Jose Alvarado and her sister were found buried near a riverbank roughly 12 miles from the northwestern city of Santa Barbara on November 19. The two had disappeared while attending a resort hotel party on November 13. The sister Sofia Trinidad’s boyfriend has been charged with murder.

Plutarco Ruiz, 32, while donning a bullet-proof vest, refused to testify during a brief hearing before a judge, along with three others accused of helping him cover up the crime - his friend Aris Maldonado Mejia, resort owner Ventura Diaz and Diaz's wife, Elizabeth Alvarado.

Alvarado was shot 12 times and Trinidad was shot 10, in what investigators initially believed to be the result of a fit of jealous rage on Ruiz's behalf, after he saw Trinidad dancing with another man. New evidence revealed that the women might have been shot while trying to leave the party, as they were weary of the amount of drugs and alcohol being served.

Alvarado, 19, who was crowed Miss Honduras in April, was set to fly to London last week, in order to compete in the Miss World beauty pageant.

Miss World pageant chairwoman Julia Morley said in a statement, “We are devastated by this terrible loss of two young women, who were so full of life. We will be holding a special service with all of the Miss World contestants on Sunday, where we will be honoring the lives of Maria Jose Alvarado and Sofia Trinidad, and say prayers for them and their family.”

Chief detective Leandro Osorio said the bodies of Alvarado and her 23-year-old sister were unearthed along the banks of the Aguagual River, near the town of Arada, which lies in a region plagued by violence.

In a comment to the Daily Mail, Ruiz denied shooting the sisters.

Honduras presently hold the world’s highest murder rate, at 90.4 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2012.