Former Miss Venezuela slain in robbery

Monica Spear was crowned in 2004. Her ex-husband was also killed and their child wounded.

Monica Spear was crowned in 2004. Her ex-husband was also killed and their child wounded.

CARACAS, Venezuela — A former Miss Venezuela and her ex-husband were shot and killed and their 5-year-old daughter wounded when they resisted robbers by locking themselves inside their car after tire punctures disabled it on an isolated stretch of highway, police said Tuesday.

The slaying of Monica Spear, 29, a popular soap-opera actor, and Thomas Henry Berry, a 39-year-old British citizen, was the latest high-profile crime in a country where killings are common in armed robberies.

Monday's killings followed a pattern in Venezuela of late-night assaults carried out by disabling cars. Spear and Berry were slain about 10:30 p.m. between Puerto Cabello, the country's main port, and Valencia. They were returning from vacation to Caracas.

Their four-door sedan hit "a sharp object that had been placed on the highway" that punctured at least two of its tires, the director of the country's investigative police, Jose Gregorio Sierralta, told reporters. Two tow trucks arrived almost immediately afterward, said Sierralta, and the attack occurred after the car had been lifted onto one of the trucks.

Seeing the assailants coming, the travelers locked themselves inside and the assailants fired at least six shots, he said.

Police in Puerto Cabello arrested five suspects, some under age 18, Sierralta said.

Media reports said Spear, who was crowned Miss Venezuela in 2004, and Berry had a good relationship despite being divorced. Berry owned a travel agency. Spear split her time between Venezuela and the United States.

Former Miss Venezuela slain in robbery 01/07/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 7, 2014 11:07pm]

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