of The Examiner
Former Miss Venezuela, Monica Spear, and her ex-husband Thomas Henry Berry were shot dead during a robbery on Monday. According to The Independent
, Spears and Berry were killed “on a roadside near Venezuela's main port of Puerto Cabello.”
Jose Gregorio Sierralta, director of Venezuela’s investigative police, said the car had hit “a sharp object that had been placed on the highway.” He added that the attack happened after the car was lifted onto a tow truck. The family had locked themselves in the car when they saw the attackers.
The couple’s five-year-old daughter was treated for a minor leg injury and “believed to be in stable condition following the events.” She is now with her relatives in Caracas.
Five people have been arrested in connection with the robbery, including several under the age of 18.
Sierralta said the Venezuelan government “will work hard to identify the killers and subsequently tackle murder in Venezuela.”
“It is very sad and we feel the pain of this loss”, said Venezuela’s president Nicolas Maduro, adding Ms. Spear was “a very spiritual young woman” who had been involved in many charities.
Spear, Berry, and their daughter rang in the New Year in the mountains of Merida and then headed to the plains, said Luis Carlos Dominguez, a former business associate and friend of Berry.
“He knew Venezuela a lot better than many Venezuelans,” said Dominguez who described the couple as people “who really loved the country.”
Spear and Berry divorced in 2013, but maintained a good relationship according to Dominguez.
They made a point to vacation together for the benefit of their daughter, he said.
Spear won Miss Venezuela in 2004 and had performed in multiple soap operas for Telemundo,
a United States television network.
Spear’s death has “triggered anger on social media directed at the populist government’s poor record on crime.”
Many Venezuelans live in fear of crime and often stay inside after dark. The Venezuelan Observatory of Violence stated that the country’s murder rate was 79 per 100,000 citizens last year; however, the Venezuelan government reported a lower rate.
Our condolences are with the families and friends of both Monica Spear and Thomas Henry Berry following this tragic event.