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Loved Ones Fear Burned Van Belongs to Missing Surfers

The pair disappeared in Sinaloa Cartel territory
By Luke Roney,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 30, 2015 8:19 AM CST

(Newser) – They were expected to be in Guadalajara, Mexico, by Nov. 21. But the two Australian surfers never arrived. The girlfriends of Dean Lucas and Adam Coleman, both 33, will travel Monday to Culiacan, the capital of the Mexican state of Sinaloa, to help identify two charred bodies reportedly found in a burned-out van believed to belong to the missing surfers. "Everything points to it being them because the van matches, it had a bicycle," Andrea Gomez, Coleman's girlfriend, tells the AP. The pair departed from Edmonton, Canada, and intended to meet Gomez in Guadalajara, which Reuters reports is 445 miles south of where the van was found. Gomez was told the men were possibly sighted Nov. 20 in a convenience store in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, looking for a map.

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As for the path they traveled, the AP notes that the Pacific-coast Sinaloan state "would be on the route of most road trips to Guadalajara from Vancouver," where the van was reportedly purchased. Sinaloa is a dangerous place that serves as the home of the cartel helmed by fugitive drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. The US State Department's Mexico travel warning, last updated in May, recommends travelers stay only in the Sinaloan city of Mazatlan and drive only on toll roads. "Violent crime rates remain high in many parts of the state," reads the warning. Australia's ABC reports the condition of the bodies has prevented identification; Gomez and Lucas' girlfriend, Josie Cox, are bringing bits of dreadlocks and dental records, respectively, to help with the ID. On Saturday, Cox noted in a Facebook post marked as "feeling devastated": "Just found out when and how Dean Lucas was gonna propose to me!" (A story of two missing teens in Maine had a happier ending.)

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