Charges filed after bodies found in Mexico during search for missing Australian brothers

A rescue worker descends into a waterhole where human remains were found near La Bocana Beach in Ensenada, Mexico on May 3, 2024.

A rescue worker descends into a waterhole where human remains were found near La Bocana Beach in Ensenada, Mexico on May 3, 2024.
Photo: AFP/Guillermo Arias

By means of Carrington Clarke in Ensenada, Mexico, and Brad Ryan

Mexican authorities have filed criminal charges against three people being questioned in connection with the disappearance of two Australian brothers and their American traveling companion, who were reported missing in the country late last month.

The announcement came after authorities said three bodies had been found in the area where the three men went missing.

A local government official in Ensenada, northwestern Mexico, told the ABC that the bodies were found near a cliff on the Pacific coast on Friday morning, local time.

The Baja California Attorney General’s Office later confirmed they were found in the southern Ensenada area by authorities searching for the missing men.

In a statement late Friday local time, the office said the bodies had been recovered from a difficult-to-reach location during a specialized operation and a search of the site was underway for evidence.

It is said that forensic investigations are still being conducted to identify the bodies.

Both Callum (left) and Jake Robinson are keen surfers.

Australian brothers Jake and Callum Robinson were on holiday in Mexico when they went missing at the end of April
Photo: Delivered / Instagram

Jake and Callum Robinson, originally from Perth, and their American friend Jack Carter Rhoad have not been heard from since April 27.

They had been surfing and camping in Baja California, south of the US border, but had not shown up at their accommodation in the town of Rosarito.

The car the three travelers had used was found burnt out on a farm in the area.

Authorities confirmed that tents where the men were believed to have been staying had also been found.

Rescuers, forensic investigators and prosecutors prepare to enter a waterhole where human remains were found near La Bocana Beach in Ensenada, Mexico, on May 3, 2024.

Rescuers, forensic investigators and prosecutors work at the site where human remains were found near La Bocana beach.
Photo: AFP/Guillermo Arias

The coast of Baja California is a popular surfing destination, but is also plagued by violent drug cartels. The state contains many smuggling routes used by the cartels to reach the US, but tourist spots like the Ensenada area are generally considered safer than other parts.

Local authorities fear the men may have been involved in foul play. But Baja California Attorney General María Elena Andrade Ramírez said they do not currently believe there is a link to organized crime.

Speaking through an interpreter, she told the ABC that the men’s disappearance was an “atypical, exceptional case”.

“We have an influx of tourists and a similar case has not occurred,” she said.

Three people – two brothers and a 23-year-old woman romantically linked to one of them – were arrested earlier this week and have now been charged with a crime equivalent to kidnapping.

It is unclear whether more charges will be filed against them.

The woman was reportedly found with a mobile phone belonging to one of the missing Australians, local police said.

All three arrested people are said to have had drugs with them during their arrest. A pickup truck belonging to one of the arrested trio had been seized, Andrade Ramírez said.

“We have a significant amount of evidence and are conducting an extensive investigation,” Andrade Ramírez told the ABC on Friday local time.

“However, we found no clues that could indicate their continued existence.”

Callum, 33, is a successful lacrosse player who has played with several American teams. Jake, 30, is a doctor who had traveled to the US to visit his older brother.

Family and friends are using social media to appeal for help finding the men. They said their lack of recent contact was out of character.

Their parents Debra and Martin Robinson said Friday they were “en route to the US/Mexico to be as close as possible to the area where they were last seen.”

“Callum and Jake are beautiful people,” they said in a statement to the media.

“We love them so much and this breaks our hearts.

“Our only consolation right now is that they were doing something together that they loved passionately.”