A Mexican government official has confirmed a burnt out van with two charred bodies inside was the vehicle being driven by two missing Australian surfers.
Dean Lucas and Adam Coleman haven’t been seen or heard from in over a week.
Sinaloa’s Attorney-General announced overnight the old Chevy van’s registration number matched the vehicle Mr Lucas and Mr Coleman bought in Canada.
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The attorney-general said Canadian officials confirmed the match, while DNA testing on the two charred bodies found inside the van is continuing. It’s feared Mr Lucas and Mr Coleman were preyed on in the notoriously dangerous Sinaloa state where murders, violent robberies and kidnappings are common. It is also the home to the eponymous cartel led by drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.
DNA from one of Lucas’ distinct dreadlocks and other personal items belonging to the men, as well as dental records, will be used to determine if the bodies are the Australians.
The Department of Foreign Affairs has “very grave” concerns for the fate of the two men. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said consular officials were working hard to locate the pair. “A vehicle registered in the name of one of the West Australian men has been located,” Bishop said on The Today Show. “There are human remains and these are yet to be formally identified.”
She also disputed suggestions it would be difficult to determine exactly what occurred, saying Australian officials were working alongside law enforcement authorities in Sinaloa.
The loved ones of both men are travelling to Mexico this week. A gofundme.com fundraising page has raised more than $40,000 in just one day to help with the families’ travel costs.