NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Monday, November 30, 2015, 8:52 PM
A missing Australian surfer owns the torched van found with two burned bodies inside in the Mexican countryside, officials said Monday.
The vehicle discovered nine days ago in the drug cartel-plagued state of Sinaloa was registered to Adam Coleman, who had traveled from Canada with fellow missing Aussie Dean Lucas, said Sinaloa state Attorney General Marco Antonio Higuera.
The pair, both aged 33, haven’t been seen since they arrived the night of Nov. 20 on a ferry from Baja California and didn’t show up as planned in Guadalajara the next day, Higuera said. Their loved ones fear them dead, though officials haven’t identified the two bodies found in the vehicle.
Police stand by the burned-out van found Nov. 21 in rural Sinaloa state in Mexico. Authorities are investigating whether the two bodies found inside were missing Australian surfers Dean Lucas and Adam Coleman.
The charred conversion van’s paint burned off and its license plates were gone when it turned up on the way to Guadalajara roughly 100 miles south of where the men got off the boat in Topolobampo. But the vehicle’s serial numbers mirrored those of one registered in Canada to Coleman, according to Higuera.
Lucas and Coleman, who are both from a suburb outside the Western Australian capital of Perth, had been living in Edmonton in Alberta, Canada, before they ventured south, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. Their girlfriends, one of whom was going to meet them in Guadalajara, provided authorities with Lucas’ dental records and parts of Coleman’s dreadlocks.
Lucas’ sister responded in a Facebook statement cited by the Herald to online comments she said faulted the men for driving through the state known as the home of the powerful Sinaloa cartel and its fugitive drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzman.
Coleman (R) and Lucas (L), both 33, have been missing for nine days. The burned-out van was registered to Coleman, Mexican officials said Monday.
“My brother Dean and Adam have been travelling for over 15 years, living in countries that lots of people may not consider safe but doing what they love, and following the good waves, and sharing their love of the travelling life with others,” Michelle Lucas said. “They spoke Spanish, among other languages, and have done things that many people in their lifetime don’t get to do or are too scared to do.”
She continued, “They are NOT naive, they are NOT tourists, they are travellers. This is an absolute tragedy and I see lots of people either blaming the boys or blaming the country. Let’s concentrate on the fact that two people are missing and they mean everything to a lot of people.”
Some 560 people had donated over $ 43,000 by Monday night to a GoFundMe page set up by friends and relatives. Lucas’ girlfriend Josie Cox wrote on Facebook Saturday that she had “found out when and how” Lucas planned to ask her to marry him.
A Facebook photo shared by Lucas’ girlfriend shows the pair in front of the van before their trip.
“Never felt so alone and useless…on my way to get some answers,” she wrote the next morning before her flight to Mexico.
Coleman’s girlfriend Andrea Gomez posted a note he had written to her from Canada before the trip.
“Your are so smart beyond your years, you blow me away, you are inspiring, unique, fun, so cute, pure beauty, and I am happier when I am with you,” Coleman wrote. “It is now October and my days are numbered here and I am on the home straight to getting to where I want to be going. The lovely lady I met on the beach.”
With News Wire Services
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