The bodies of two West Australian surfers who were killed on a gang-plagued Mexican road have been handed to the Australian consulate after authorities identified their remains.
DNA tests conducted with the Attorney-General’s office confirmed the burned bodies were those of Dean Lucas and Adam Coleman, the Sinaloa state prosecutor’s office said in a statement.
The bodies were given to the Australian consulate on Thursday, nearly a month after they were found inside a charred van abandoned on a rural road in Sinaloa.
The tourists, both 33, had driven from Canada and arrived in Sinaloa on a ferry from the Baja California Peninsula in November. They were heading to the western city of Guadalajara to join Mr Coleman’s girlfriend there.
But the burned-out van was discovered on November 21.
According to state prosecutors, the van was intercepted by a gang driving a car that flashed police-like lights.
Mr Coleman was shot in the face when he tried to resist. The robbers then killed Mr Lucas, drove their vehicle to another location and set it on fire.
Three suspects were arrested and two others are being sought.
Municipal and federal police uniforms were seized from the suspects, who wore them to commit highway robberies, according to investigators.
Tens of thousands of dollars were raised online to help the surfers’ families travel to Mexico to recover the bodies.
Sinaloa is home to the powerful Sinaloa drug cartel led by fugitive drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who broke out of a maximum security prison in July.
While tens of thousands of Mexicans have been killed and 26,000 have gone missing in nearly a decade of drug violence, violent attacks on foreign tourists are less common.
In July 2014, the decomposing body of Franco-American Harry Devert was found with signs of strangulation in the south-western state of Guerrero, six months after he went missing while crossing the country on a motorcycle.
He had travelled from New York, hoping to reach Brazil for the World Cup.