Though it has been reported in some sources that the couple were divorced, they were separated, according to DNAIndia.com and The Daily Telegraph, and were attempting to patch up their marriage. They were returning from a New Year holiday reunion when their car was stopped during a suspected roadside robbery attempt gone bad.
According to a friend of the Berrys, Luis Navarra, he and other friends and family members were hoping that the Arrival of the Berrys in Caracas would “bring the news that they were getting back together, instead it brought tragedy.”
Their 5-year-old daughter, Maya, was trapped in the car with them when they were gunned down, and she was shot in her leg, where the bullet still remains, according to her grandfather and Monica’s father, Rafael Spear.
Monica Spear’s camera was discovered in the residence of Eva “Guns” Mejias. She was the only female gang member arrested as being involved in the alleged robbery and homicides of Monica Spear and Tom Berry. Though none of the seven gang members have been charged yet, according to police officials, there is evidence to link the seven men to the homicides.
Monica Spear and Tom Berry were shot after a sharp object in the road believed to have been placed there by their assailants blew out two of their car’s tires. They locked themselves in their car when it was surrounded by a gang of seven criminals, “Los Rapidito,” the quick or rapid ones. They were known throughout the area for committing robberies. The gang was squatting in a government housing project that they’d invaded. They made it their den, and went out on raids at night, stopping vehicles along the dark and mountainous highway.
Angry Venezuelans have been protesting and pressuring the government to do something about their country’s high rate of crime and violence. Officials have promised that they would act to put on end to the rampant violence.
In the words of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro at a security meeting on Wednesday, it wasn’t time “to throw in the towel.” Instead, he said that “it’s time to react.”
What happened to Monica Spear, her ex-husband, and their daughter marks one of the latest cases of violence that has become all too common along the roads and highways of Venezuela. According to a nonprofit agency that keeps tabs of the violent crimes that occur in Venezuela, last year alone there were nearly 25,000 homicides. Venezuela’s population is around 30 million.
Monica’s aunt, Mary Spear, has asked Venezuelans “to wake up” to how many people have been murdered on the highways of Venezuela. She hopes that the death of her niece, Monica Spear, will let the world know that “we can’t be out on the street because we’re afraid.”
Jose Gregorio Sierralta, director of the Corps of Scientific, Penal and Criminal Investigations, announced the capture of the seven gang members, stating that the police had “managed to apprehend and totally break up this dangerous gang.”
According to Sierralta, the leader of the gang was 32-year-old Fat Danilo, who was one of the seven arrested. Danilo said at least 11 people were involved in the crime altogether, and that four had yet to be aprehended.
Former Miss Venezuela Monica Spear studied theater at the University of Central Florida. She has acted in the Telemundo soap operas “Pasion Prohibida (Forbidden Passion)” and “Flor Salvaje (Savage Flower).”
Roberto Spear, the brother of Monica Spear, told HLN’s Nancy Grace that the family wasn’t going to focus “on police agencies or information about how this happened.” Rather, the family would focus “on spreading a message of peace, a message of love.”
Venezuela ranks as one of the world’s most violent countries, with an average of about one person being killed every 21 minutes. According to the nonprofit Venezuelan Violence Observatory there are approximately 80 deaths per 1000,000 inhabitants of the oil-rich country.
The tragic deaths of Miss Venezuela Monica Spear and her husband, businessman Thomas Henry Spear, are being mourned not only in Venezuela but around the world. Their deaths might serve as a clarion call to the government officials of Venezuela to take action to curb the crime and violence in their country, but sadly, any actions that might be taken will have been too late to have prevented the deaths of the Berrys and many others.
Written by Douglas Cobb