Utah couple, Paul Nielsen and Janeth Vázquez visiting Mexico executed point blank in front of son. No arrests made as concerns officials may seek to dismiss murders.
Paul Nielsen, 52, and Janeth Vázquez, 43, were on their way to a beach resort last week when they allegedly failed to stop at a checkpoint in Petatlan, within the state of Guerrero.
Local reports say the couple was with their son, Kevin, and had been ordered to stop by a group of armed men.
They were allegedly pulled over on Thursday around 3:30 a.m. and asked to exit their vehicle, upon which they were all shot — including Kevin, the reports say.
The boy survived, but suffered a nervous breakdown and had to be treated at a local hospital. His parents were both shot in the head.
Have Mexico authorities dismissed the deaths of Utah couple?
Nielsen’s family confirmed the incident according to KUTV. They have set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for his body to be brought back to Utah. His wife was originally from Puebla, Mexico, and it’s unclear what will happen with her remains.
As of Wednesday morning, $46,058 of a $30,000 goal had been raised.
Local authorities are investigating the early morning execution, which has been condemned by Guerrero Gov. Hector Astudillo Flores as reprehensible.
Vilate Ssempala, Nielsen’s younger sister, told the The Salt Lake Tribune that he and his wife had encountered a roadblock on the morning of their deaths, which appeared to have been set up by a local gang to extort travelers.
The couple was ‘intercepted’ by the heavily armed group and ‘stripped’ of their car, according to Mexican outlet Reforma, before eventually being shot.
Following the execution style gun letting, the shooters then took the family’s car and left.
Notice of the crime followed reports of state police coming across the bodies of the slain couple and their injured son, according to the Mexico Daily News.
Ssempala told the Tribune she wasn’t aware of any investigation to capture those responsible for the crime.
However, Guerrero Governor Héctor Astudillo said Friday that investigating the case was a priority.
Nielsen’s family says it’s working with the US Embassy in Mexico to have his body returned.
The executions are part of an ongoing series of violence that typically is limited to local infighting between Mexican drug cartels. It wasn’t immediately understood if the US Embassy now plans to issue an official warning to US tourists traveling south of the border.