Former Miss Venezuela and her British ex-husband were shot and killed during a robbery near their car. The vehicle had broken down on a highway in central Venezuela. It was a dark and dangerous situation common to the reported violent countryside. Their 5-year-old daughter, Maya, was shot in the leg. Monica Spear Mootz and her former spouse, Irishman Thomas Henry Berry, were waiting on a service vehicle to help them get their car up and running. While they were waiting, robbers came upon them in the night and shot the couple to death. They left Maya in the car after shooting her in the leg.
It has been reported that when the robbers approached their car, Spear and Berry locked the doors. The assailants then began shooting through the windows of the car, killing them both and injuring Maya. The former Miss Venezuela had not yet reached the age of 30.
Spear, 29 years of age and Berry, 39, were discovered dead in the car. Their daughter, Maya, was taken to the hospital. She is recovering and in stable condition. Maya is being held in protective custody while the investigation proceeds.
Spear was crowned Miss Venezuela in 2004 and starred in numerous soap operas on the Telemundo network.
Spear was living in Miami, Florida, where she worked on the telenovela, Pasión Prohibida and Flor Salvaje. She acted in many other soap operas in Venezuela, such as Mi Prima Ciela, or My Cousin Ciela and La Mujer Perfecta, or The Perfect Woman. She and her family were vacationing in Venezuela when the robbery and shooting took place.
Spear married Thomas Berry in 2008. Although it is said that the couple divorced, there is no evidence to prove this fact to be true. Maya was born in October 2008. Family says that though the couple was broken up, they remained close and spent vacations and holidays together for their daughter’s sake.
Most citizens in Venezuela do not go out at night, due to the dangers inherent in traveling at such a time. Violence is a way of life for Venezuelans and they are used to taking precautions. When Spear and Berry took their last trip on the road, they were traveling in a 2002 Toyota Sedan.
Venezuela holds the infamous title of one of the world’s most dangerous countries, with 39 murders per year for each 100,000 residents. There was a population of 29.7 million people reported in 2012, which would total 11,583 murders in one year.
Luis Dominguez, a friend of Spear said of her, “She was a really happy, outgoing person, she didn’t need luxury. They only needed each other. She wasn’t flashy. She was a beautiful person to be around.”
In Venezuela, Spear was a superstar to many fans. To those who knew her best, like Dominguez, they saw her as a down to earth, human person. Having been found by the authorities in an old Toyota sedan, it is apparent that Spear did not go for limos and bodyguards. In this case, it would have been best if there had been some protective measures, however, having lived in the US for so long, perhaps she did not consider the risks in her own home country.
Miss Venezuela, 2004, was shot and killed during an attempted robbery. May she and Berry rest in peace.
By Lisa M Pickering
Latin American Herald Tribune