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 Wednesday. The two had disappeared while attending a resort hotel party last Thursday. The sister Sofia Trinidad’s boyfriend is currently being held by police under suspicion of murder.
Alvarado, 19, who was crowed Miss Honduras in April, was set to fly to London Wednesday, 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.
“We are 100 percent sure that it’s them,” Osorio remarked, adding that, “we are holding the author of this horrific act, Mr Plutarco Ruiz. We have found the murder weapon and the vehicle used to transport them, a white pick-up truck.” Osorio commented that additional suspects are being looked at, as the truck was cleaned and repainted at a garage.
So incredibly saddened upon hearing about the terrible death of Maria Jose Alvarado, Miss World Honduras … http://t.co/CbOYMfayo8
— Maria Rahajeng (@mariarahajeng) November 19, 2014
Sending heartfelt condolences to #MissHonduras2014, Maria Jose Alvarado’s family http://t.co/hIDe4cUELW pic.twitter.com/PW0G26TKzo
— Miss South Africa (@Official_MissSA) November 19, 2014
R.I.P Miss World – Honduras Maria Jose Alvarado Munoz. Maria was killed alongside her sister.Our heart goes out… http://t.co/mIcWxulaT5
— TGPC (@TGPCOFFICIAL) November 19, 2014
Rashida Manjoo, the United Nations’ special rapporteur on violence against women, said in July that assault against females in Honduras increased 263.4-percent between 2005 and 2013.
Arabeska Sanchez, a criminologist at the National University’s Violence Observatory, added that details of Alvarado’s killing were indicative of organized crime. Sanchez commented, “only organized crime networks rent a business, such as the resort in this case, close it to maintain control and post guards outside. These crimes have been happening a lot in Honduras, but in this case it gets attention because it has an international impact.”
Honduras presently hold the world’s highest murder rate, at 90.4 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2012.