Almost a week after they disappeared, the reigning Miss Honduras and her 23-year old sister were found dead in a remote village in the country’s western department of Santa Barbara.
Miss Honduras María José Alvarado, 19, and her sister Sofia Trinidad, 23, vanished last Thursday after leaving a party at a spa in Santa Barbara, about 240 miles west of Tegucigalpa, where they had gone to celebrate the birthday of Plutarco Ruiz, Trinidad’s boyfriend. Police believe they were abducted.
The two bodies were discovered in Cablotales village, near the Aguagua River.
National Police director, Gen. Ramon Sabillon, said authorities are awaiting confirmation from forensic officials to confirm that the bodies are the beauty queen and her sister.
"Witnesses said my daughter left the spa with three men," her mother, Teresa Muñoz, told reporters. "I tried repeatedly all night to call their cellphones without any response."
Four people, including Ruiz, have been questioned over the disappearance and regional police chief José Casco Torres said that there could be more arrests in the case.
Chief prosecutor Gabriela Carranza said there are leads that they can't discuss so as not to interfere with the investigation.
Alvarado, 19, was crowned Miss Honduras in April and was expected to compete in the Miss World pageant in London next month. She was supposed to have left for England on Sunday.
“The representative of the Miss World here will have to say that she will not travel because she was abducted or is missing,” Salvador Nasralla, the television personality who covered the Miss Honduras pageant in April told El Pais.
In a region – known as the Northern Triangle - plagued by violent crime, Honduras topped a United Nations report on the world's highest homicide rate, with 90.4 people murdered per 100,000 of the population.
A recent report, entitled "Other Situations of Violence in the Northern Triangle of Central America," discussed in depth the carnage perpetrated in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador by gangs, organized crime and drug traffickers.
"At 90 homicides per 100,000 people, Honduras remains the most violent country in the world. El Salvador (41.2) and Guatemala (39.9) have higher homicide rates now than during their civil wars," the report noted
"The homicidal violence in the Northern Triangle results in considerably more civilian casualties than in any other countries, including those with ongoing armed conflicts or war, such as Democratic Republic of the Congo (28.3 in 2012) and Afghanistan (6.5 in 2012). In 2012 the global average homicide rate was 6.2 per 100,000 people," the report said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.