In the hours before three young women went missing on a beach trip and were horrifically murdered in Ecuador, two of them reportedly sent messages to loved ones suggesting they were in danger.
One was translated to say, “I feel that something is going to happen”.
Nayeli Tapia, 21, Yuliana Macias, 21, and Denisse Reyna, 19, were found buried in a shallow grave with their throats slit on April 7 after they went missing on April 4.
It is believed they were tortured, killed and buried on April 5 before local fishermen alerted police a couple of days later to a foul smell and a dog sniffing around the area alongside the Esmeraldas River near Quininde.
Ecuadorean news outlet Vistazo, which spoke with friends and relatives of the victims, reported that Tapia, the mother of a four-year-old daughter, sent her sister a WhatsApp message with her live location and wrote, “I’m just sending you just in case” at 11:10 pm on April 4. She was not heard from again.
The location was an area near where the three women were found dead, according to the publication.
Vistazo further reported that hours before Reyna went missing, she messaged a friend: “I feel that something is going to happen and if something happens to me, remember that I love you very much.”
Local media reported their three bodies, which were found buried, were tied up and their mouths were covered. There were also signs they had been tortured.
“They were young, had beach clothes, bathing suits, light clothing, shorts,” Diego Velastegui of the Quininde Police told local media.
They lived about 49 miles away from where they were found dead.
Police also found a mobile phone, which is hoped to assist in finding out what happened as authorities continue to search for the killer or killers.
Macias’ aunt Paulina Rueda claimed the family had received death threats for demanding justice and pleaded with the public to not link the young women’s deaths to drug trafficking.
Esmeraldas province, where they were believed to be killed and then buried, has been under a state of emergency since March 3 due to high levels of crime and violence, with a turf war between rival drug trafficking gangs.
Macias was a singer, Tapia was a mother and Reyna was an agricultural engineering student.
Macias was reported to have wanted to pursue a second career in psychology or law and travel, while Tapia wanted to move to Spain with her daughter, and Reyna to the United States with a friend, both in search of better opportunities.
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