Police in Ajijic, Jalisco, on the shores of Lake Chapala and about 45 minutes outside of Guadalajara, have found the bodies of a retired Canadian couple. The two were allegedly victims of an assault, the motive being robbery.
Ajijic and neighbouring Chapala are home to thousands of expat Canadian and Americans, drawn to the area because of its beautiful climate and, up until recently, its tranquility.
The names of the victims have not been released by officials, though local reports have stated that the deceased are the writer Nina Discombe, 72, from Quebec, and Edward Kula, 84, from Ontario.
Local reports indicate that the couple were renting a house for six months, and were well-liked by their neighbours. On Saturday night at about 6:00 pm they took some friends who were visiting to the airport in Guadalajara, returning at around 8:15 pm that same evening.
Authorities believe that the couple was then attacked later that night, as Mr. Kula was found in his underwear and Ms. Discombe in a robe. The house had been ransacked, with household items stolen, as well as possibly money and jewellery. A Dodge Caravan with Ontario plates reading “BABCHI” was also stolen.
In Mexico most crimes, even violent ones, are poorly investigated and almost never solved. In this case, however, we can expect a strong response, as Mexico is sensitive to ongoing concerns with regard to the safety of foreigners. Already the Mexican press is reporting that the Homicidios Intencionales de la Fiscalía Central de Jalisco (FCJ) – a unit devoted specifically to the investigation of murders – is involved, as is the Instituto Jalisciense de Ciencias Forenses (IJCF), the much burdened forensic investigation unit.
Mexico is largely safe for foreign travellers – over 50,000 Canadians own homes there – but the country is nonetheless best by corruption and poverty. The area around Chapala has been plagued by break-ins of late, though these have usually occurred when no-one was at home. The murder weapon appears to have been a kitchen butcher knife, implying that the robbers were surprised to find the couple there.