Honduras Miss World contestant found murdered with sister

Maria Jose Alvardo was due to take part in Miss World events starting tomorrow

Honduran beauty queen goes missing in the drug-ravaged country just days before the Miss World pageant in London. Video: Reuters


A Honduran beauty queen has been found murdered just days before she was due to compete in the Miss World pageant in London, police said today.

The bodies of Maria Jose Alvarado, 19, and her sister Sofia were found buried near a river in the mountainous region of Santa Barbara, about 180 km from the capital Tegucigalpa, said Leandro Osorio, head of the criminal investigation unit.

Alvarado, a student who aspired to become a diplomat, had been due to take part in the Miss World events that start tomorrow and culminate in the final in London on December 14th.

She and her sister had been missing since last Thursday, when they were seen leaving a party in a car without a license plate.

“I can confirm that the Alvarado sisters were found ... We also have the murder weapon and the vehicle in which they were transported to the site where they were buried,” Mr Osorio told local television.

Interior Minister Arturo Corrales told Honduran media that Plutarco Ruiz, the boyfriend of the beauty queen’s sister, had been linked to the crime. Police arrested Mr Ruiz and another man yesterday, confiscating two pistols.

Alvarado was crowned Miss Honduras World 2014 in April, beating 18 other contestants to the top spot. She could not live without lip gloss or the Web site Wikipedia.org according to her official bio on the Miss World competition page.

The daughter of a lower middle class family from Santa Barbara, Alvarado had worked as a model for local department stores.

Julia Morley, chairman of the Miss World Organisation which began in the United Kingdom in the 1950s, said the group was “devastated by this terrible loss of two young women, who were so full of life.”

The organization would say prayers for the dead women in a service on Sunday and hold a fundraiser to donate money for a children’s home in Honduras chosen by their mother, she added.

Honduras is the world’s most violent country with a murder rate above 90 people per 100,000, about double the rate of its closest peers Venezuela, Belize and El Salvador.

Mexico’s drug cartels have expanded into Honduras in recent years, making the impoverished Central American nation a major thoroughfare for trafficking South America cocaine to the United States and driving a surge in violence.