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Five held in brutal slaying of former Miss Venezuela and ex-spouse

From Caribbean 360images-Caribbean-Miss_Venezuela_Monica_Spear_Thomas_Henry_Berry__544499449

The couple were shot dead in front of their five-year-old daughter when they resisted a robbery on a lonely stretch of road in Venezuela.

CARACAS, Venezuela, Friday January 10, 2014  – Police in Puerto Cabello have arrested five suspects in connection with the murder of former Miss Venezuela Monica Spear and her Irish ex-husband Thomas Henry Berry, who were slain during a botched robbery attempt on an isolated road in Venezuela.

Spear, 29, and Berry, a 39-year-old British citizen, were shot and killed in front of their five-year-old daughter when they tried to evade bandits by locking themselves inside their car which had been brought to a halt by punctured tyres, police said on Tuesday.

The bandits, some of whom are said to be under the age of 18, responded by pumping at least six shots into the vehicle, killing the couple and wounding their daughter Maya.

The incident occurred at about 10:30 p.m. between Puerto Cabello, the country’s main port, and the provincial capital of Valencia, on a stretch of highway that is largely deserted at night.

According to the director of the country’s investigative police, Jose Gregorio Sierralta, the couple’s four-door Toyota sedan hit “a sharp object that had been placed on the highway” which punctured at least two of its tyres.

Two tow trucks arrived almost immediately, Sierralta said, and the attack took place after the car had been lifted onto one of the trucks.

Responding to the killings, President Nicolas Maduro announced that he would fast track a security meeting originally scheduled for the end of January and bringing together state governors and mayors of Venezuela’s 79 most dangerous cities.

Meanwhile, the couple’s daughter Maya was reportedly in stable condition after treatment for a leg wound and was with relatives in Caracas, authorities said.

Spear won the Miss Venezuela title in 2004 and went on to act in several soap operas, most recently “Pasion Prohibida” for the US-based Telemundo network.

The actress, a graduate of the University of Central Florida, divided her time between Caracas and Miami despite family warnings not to spend too much time in Venezuela because of security risks.

At the time of her death, she was shooting a short film in Caracas and spending time with her ex-husband and daughter.

The former beauty queen’s grieving father, Rafeal Spear, told News 13 in Orlando, Florida that he hoped to be able to raise his orphaned granddaughter in the United States.

“Our plan is to bring Maya since she’s now alone in this world,” he said. “Our plan is to bring her here and have her grow up in the States, if the US government allows us to do that.”

For more on this story go to:

See also iNews Cayman related story published January 8 2014 “Former Miss Venezuela and British husband shot dead by robbers” at:



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