Monica Spear
Miss Venezuela beauty pageant winner Mónica Spear smiling during her presentation to the media. Reuters

Earlier this week, news broke that former Miss Venezuela and Telemundo actress Mónica Spear died after a robbery in Venezuela while on vacation. The 29-year-old actress was on the isolated Puerto Cabello-Valencia highway, according to Globovision, with her ex-husband Thomas Henry Berry, a 39-year-old British citizen, and her 5-year-old daughter when unknown assailants attempted to assault the family. Local media outlets reported that after being approached by the assailants, Spear and her family locked themselves inside the 2002 Toyota Corolla. Both Spear and Berry were shot, in close range, to death during the assault, which took place around 10:30 p.m.

Their daughter, Maya, was injured after getting shot in the leg and is currently in custody of relatives living in Caracas. According to Spear's brother, Ricardo Spear, Maya was not immediately told about her parents demise. "She suffered a wound on her leg. She doesn't know about the situation. She doesn't know that her parents have died and were killed," he said to media. "She doesn't know that she was shot. I imagine that Mónica in trying to protect her, grabbed her briskly and she thinks that her mother hit her."

Spear's co-stars from her last television project, telenovela "Pasión prohibida," have taken to Twitter to air their grief and respond to the beauty queen's untimely death and have even offered support to her daughter. "I am without words. I will miss you friend. And to my lovely and beautiful Maya, I love you. You are not alone!" tweeted Jencarlos Canela. Co-star Roberto Vander wrote, "I am shocked and without words, only tears of saddness and anger. May you reast in peace my dear Monica Spear."

According to authorities, the robbers fired an estimated six shots into the car. Investigative police Jose Gregorio Sierralta told reporters that "a sharp object had been placed on the highways" to puncture the tires and two tow trucks arrived to lift the car into the truck. News outlets initially reported that five unidentified suspects have been arrested in connection with the murder of Spear and Berry, but most recent reports are now claiming that seven have been arrested in connection to the murder of the actress and two of the seven include minors, aged 15 and 17.

The death of Spear has awoken the issue of safety and violence in Venezuela. "They fired with viciousness," said President Nicolás Maduro of Spear's attackers, adding that a security meeting scheduled for later this month would be pre-poned. EFE reports that the meeting on crime was attended by politicians around the country, including Henrique Capriles, the Venezuelan opposition leader and two-time presidential candidate. “You all know very well my position, the country knows my position as far as politics goes,” said Capriles to reporters. “Now, faced with insecurity, faced with violence I’m conversing with whoever, and I’m ready to work with whoever.”

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