Home » ‘The world has become a darker place’. Heartbroken parents of surfers murdered in Mexico remember loving sons who adored adventure | CNN

‘The world has become a darker place’. Heartbroken parents of surfers murdered in Mexico remember loving sons who adored adventure | CNN


The grieving parents of two Australian brothers killed on a surfing trip in Mexico alongside their American friend said their deaths had made the world a “darker place,” days after their sons’ bodies were identified.

The brothers, Jake and Callum Robinson, and American friend Jack Carter Rhoad, were on a surfing and camping trip near the town of Ensenada, about 60 miles south of the border city of Tijuana, when they went missing on April 29.

Earlier this week, three bodies were found dumped in a well with gunshot wounds to the head. On Sunday, Mexican authorities confirmed their identities as the three missing friends with the help of relatives who flew out help investigators.

“Our hearts are broken and the world has become a darker place for us,” said Debra Robinson, speaking from San Diego, where she and her husband had since flown to, according to Seven Network Australia.

“We also mourn the loss of Carter Rhoad, a close friend. They were young men, enjoying their passion of surfing together,” she said.

She thanked the friends, family and supporters who have reached out, saying: “We know that they were truly loved and impacted many people’s lives.”

Standing beside her husband Martin on the beach, the sound the Pacific waves crashing in the background, the Perth-based couple then paid tribute to the brothers: Callum, 33, who was based in San Diego and played for Australia’s national lacrosse team, and Jake, a 30-year-old doctor who flew from Australia two weeks ago to join his brother in their travels, his parents previously told CNN affiliate Seven News.

“Callum was a lovable, larger-than-life character and considered the United States his second home. Known as the Big Koala, he played professional lacrosse in the PLL and represented Australia in the World Championships and always found time to coach the junior teams,” said Debra.

“His brother Jake was a happy, gentle and compassionate soul who was pursuing a career in medicine. Jake’s passion was surfing and it was no coincidence that many of his hospitals that he worked in were close to surfing beaches,” she added – listing Jake’s other hobbies and passions, including running, swimming, cricket and live music.

“Now it’s time to bring them home to family and friends and the ocean waves in Australia,” she said, speaking through tears. “Please live bigger, shine brighter and love harder in their memory.”

Jake and Callum’s father, Martin, also spoke to extend his thanks to the Australian agencies that had helped in the search for their sons – including the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Australian Federal Police, and the Australian Embassy in Mexico. He also thanked Australia’s Foreign Minister Penny Wong, saying she had called to express her support on Monday.

Mexican authorities have vowed to investigate the murders, saying the surfers may have been attacked in an attempted vehicle robbery. Baja California has been plagued by cartel violence in recent years, though it rarely occurs in tourist areas like Ensenada.

Dozens of people held a protest last week in Ensenada calling on authorities to do more to tackle violence facing tourists and locals alike. Many held up surfboards with slogans written on them in tribute to the three slain tourists.

Drug cartels have terrorized Mexico with ever-increasing levels of violence, fueled in part by huge demand for drugs from US consumers and armed with an arsenal of weaponry from north of the border.

While parts of Mexico are established tourist destinations, violent crime including kidnapping and human trafficking plague parts of the country, particularly in border areas. Mexico’s homicide rate is among the highest in the world, and more than 100,000 people remain missing in the country. Studies show only around seven percent of murders in Mexico are ever solved.

Three Mexican citizens previously questioned in relation to the disappearance of the three murdered surfers have been arrested on suspicion of kidnapping, the attorney general’s office said. One of the suspects was identified as Jesús Gerardo “N,” alias “El Kekas.”