Ex-Miss Venezuela: Funeral For Murdered Model
(Sky News (UK) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge)
Monica Spear and Thomas Henry Berry are being laid to rest a day after their families held a private wake in Caracas before allowing fans of the model-turned-actress to view her body.
The pair were killed in a robbery on an isolated stretch of highway while they were returning to the Venezuelan capital with their five-year-old daughter.
Although the weapon used in the robbery has not been found, it has emerged that a digital camera stolen during the attack led police to a criminal group which allegedly preyed on motorists on the stretch of road between Puerto Cabello and Valencia.
The camera was found at the home of one of seven people arrested over the killing and helped officers trace other suspects in the case.
According to Jose Gregorio Sierralta, chief of Venezuela's criminal police, at least 11 people were involved in the crime - four of whom remain on the run.
The commissioner claimed the 32-year-old alleged ringleader of the group, known as Fat Danilo, supplied younger men in the gang with guns and drugs.
The deaths of Ms Spear and her ex-husband provoked a national uproar over Venezuela's rampant violent crime.
Hundreds of mourners waited in long lines outside the Caracas chapel to pay their respects to the 29-year-old, who had a starring role in a popular TV soap series.
District mayor Ramon Muchacho said: "It is a crime that shakes the foundation of the country. And that puts in front of our eyes the awful reality we live in.
"Sometimes Venezuelans live in escapism, looking one way or the other, trying to forget what happens every day. But this crime reminds us that there are more than 20,000 families, who are left in mourning every year in Venezuela (due to violence)."
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