Idyllic Ajijic - or is it still?
*Updated Feb. 12*
Two elderly Canadian nationals were found dead yesterday in their home in Ajijic, Mexico, about 45 minutes southeast of the Jaliscan capital, local police have reported. Ajijic is a town on the shores of Lake Chapala, Mexico's largest fresh water body, and is home to a large community of American and Canadian expatriates.
Their bodies were spotted by a gardener who worked on the property, according to a Sunday evening report by Guadalajara's El Informador.
The victims, who were found on the living room floor of the rental house, have not yet been identified. Police said the motive was robbery, including the couples' vehicle which was carrying Ontario plates.
Investigators believe the homicides occurred early yesterday.
In a mid-day news conference Jalisco state prosecutor Luis Carlos Nájera told reporters, "We are going to do our best to solve this crime." Pressed for details on how the couple died, Nájera replied, "Out of respect for family members, we will not release that information."
In May 2012 the severed heads and butchered remains of 18 execution victims were found in two vehicles on a busy highway running from Guadalajara to Chapala. A narcomensaje (executioner's warning) signed by the Los Zetas drug cartel was left at the scene. That case has not been solved. Other events in recent months have caused increasing unease in the Chapala area (stories below).
The London (Ontario) Free Press this evening identified the Canadian couple as Edward Kular, 84, of Scarborough, and Nina Discombe, 72, of Ottawa, and included this Facebook photo. A family member told the paper the victims were "targeted, brutally beaten and stabbed. I hope they catch the bastards who did it." Jaliscan authorities have not released any of this information, it should be noted.
El Informador carried this story today, noting in a sidebar that the same fate befell a German couple murdered in Chapala on July 20, 2012. Robbery was also the motive, but the case remains unsolved.
Feb. 12 update - From Mexican news sources: One of two vehicles stolen from the residence has been recovered, and is undergoing forensic testing. The remains of both victims have been cremated and will be returned to Canada. Meanwhile, Huffington Post told its readers on Monday (quoting a local English language news service as its source) that Sunday's murders in Ajijic were the first case of violence in the expat community. Buy that's not what this city's reliable El Informador has reported. It claims there have now been four expat murders at Lake Chapala within the last 19 months.
Feb. 12, 2014 - Canadian press reports arrest in Ajijic murder case
May 4, 2014 - Chapala records 4th murder of foreign resident in 2014
Feb. 11, 2014 - Justice, Jalisco style
Oct. 11, 2012 - Jalisco homicides remained unabated in September (violence in Lake Chapala area)
2013 regional violence
Nov. 16 - Mass grave by Jalisco's Lake Chapala held 67 remains
Aug. 20 - "No clues" a common response with Puerto Vallarta P.D.
Apr. 24 - Six Chapala police officers ordered to stand trial in kidnapping and attempted murder case
Apr. 23 - Guadalajara's mayor: "I'm worried about security"
Apr. 1 - Death toll in Guadalajara bar attacks rises to eight
Jan. 22 - Puerto Vallarta: tensions linger after brazen narco attack
Ajijic is on Lake Chapala's northern shore, an easy drive from the Guadalajara metro. But in recent months the peaceful expat town where more English than Spanish is heard on the streets has been forced to acknowledge that it is immune neither to common crime or incipient narco violence. Foreign residents, many of whom are retired and senior citizens, may reevaluate their presence in the region.
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