SANTA BARBARA, HONDURAS — Beauty queen María José Alvarado, who was crowned Miss Honduras World 2014 earlier this year, has been found dead in western Honduras after she vanished last week, police said on Wednesday, just a day before the start of the Miss World beauty pageant.
Alvarado, 19, was last seen with her sister, 23-year-old Sofía Trinidad Hernández, at a birthday party at a spa in Santa Barbara, about 145 kilometers (90 miles) northwest of Tegucigalpa. Their bodies were found on early Wednesday in a shallow grave near the Aguagual river in the municipality of Arada, not far from where they disappeared.
A police spokesman said Sofia’s boyfriend, Plutarco Ruiz, is believed to have killed both women on the night of their disappearance. He said two firearms and traces of blood were found in Ruiz’ vehicle, leading investigators to suspect that the car was used to transport the bodies to Arada.
María José Alvarado was crowned Miss Honduras World 2014 in San Pedro Sula on April 26, defeating eighteen other candidates to become the new Señorita Honduras 2014. She was expected to travel to London this week to compete in the Miss World beauty pageant, which will start on Thursday and culminate in the grand final on December 14.
Miss World Organization chairman Julia Morley said the organization was “shocked” by Wednesday’s news and said it planned to hold a special service later this week. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of María José Alvarado and Sofia Trinidad at this time of grief,” she said.
Morley added: “We are receiving messages of condolences and support from our Miss World family across the world, who all share our sadness at such a tragedy. We will be holding a special service with all of the Miss World contestants on Sunday, where we will be honoring the lives of María José Alvarado and Sofía Trinidad, and say prayers for them and their family.”