Five unidentified suspects have been arrested in connection with the murder of a former Miss. Venezuela and her ex-husband. Mónica Spear and her former husband Thomas Berry were spending the New Year with their five-year-old daughter in the mountains of Venezuela. Despite being divorced, the couple stayed close friends for the sake of their daughter. The five-year-old was witness to her parents’ brutal murder on the road between Puerto Cabello and Velencia. Spear, 29, and Berry a 39-year-old British citizen were shot at close range when resisting a group of thieves.

The bandits jumped the family on an isolated highway and the couple attempted to stop the robbery by locking themselves in their car. Police investigating the murders said the couple could not drive away since their car had been handicapped by tire punctures. Spear’s and Berry’s daughter Maya witnessed the attack and murder of her parents. She was taken to a hospital where she was treated for a leg wound. The little girls is now in the custody of relatives living in Caracas. Some of the arrested suspects are under 18 years old.

Police say the robbers fired a minimum of six shots into the car. Monica Spear was a popular soap opera actress and former Miss Venezuela. The former beauty queen’s murder follows a recent pattern of late night attacks that begin with the assailants disabling cars by puncturing tires or removing sewer caps. Reports say Spear’s and Berry’s four-door sedan hit “a sharp object that had been placed on the highway.” When the couple would not vacate the car and hand over their belongings “they fired with viciousness,” President Nicolás Maduro said in statements to state TV.

Spear was crowned Miss Venezuela in 2004 and was the fifth runner up in the 2005 Miss Universe pageant. Following her pageant career she began acting in Venezuelan soap operas and most recently appeared in “Pasion Prohibida” on the US-based Telemundo network. Spear’s father, Rafeal Spear spoke with News 13 in Orlando saying, “There’s no words to describe our pain. This is something that should have never happened. Our plan is to bring Maya [to the U.S] since she is now alone in this world,” Spear said of his granddaughter.