In mid-November, two Australian surfers vanished in Mexico. The pair, both in their early thirties, left Edmonton, Canada, made their way south to Las Vegas, then kept driving into Mexico. Working odd jobs along the way, Adam Coleman and Dean Lucas planned on meeting up with friends in Guadalajara. When they never arrived, friends and family quickly began searching.
Then, Mexican authorities found a torched van on a desolate dirt road in Sinoloa. Inside were two charred bodies, and authorities confirmed the van was the one the men were traveling in. The girlfriends of Lucas and Coleman headed to Mexico to provide DNA samples to confirm the bodies were those of the missing men.
Although the DNA samples haven’t been fully confirmed yet, Lucas and Coleman are presumed dead. Three paddle outs in Australia, Mexico, and the US to honor them. A group even came out to show their love for the men in landlocked Mexico City. “The love and solidarity shown towards us as this time is heartwarming and a comfort so massive it cannot be fully explained by words,” Coleman’s parents told ABC.
The Mexican surfing community was also in shock about what happened. “We wanted to organize something to show the families and friends in Australia the shame, sympathy, the love and the respect,” said Alfonso Polidura Perez Luis Skeen de Alba, president of the Mexico Surfing Federation. “It is a shocker because it is not necessarily what is happening in the country right now. iIt takes us back to what was happening 35 years ago when there were bandidos if you were traveling down the coast looking for waves and stuff like that.”
The van was found in an area of Sinaloa near Navolato that the mayor dubbed the Bermuda Triangle of Crime. Skeen wants to make sure that this doesn’t change how travelers look at the country. “It’s critical to show the world another face of our country and our community,” he said. [We want to] make it clear that the majority of Mexico is not a violent land, and that the country and people do not live in fear, chaos or insecurity.”