In an act of tragic and senseless violence, former Miss Venezuela, Monica Spear and her ex-husband were killed Monday night during an attempted robbery. The couple’s 5-year old daughter sustained non life-threatening injuries in the attack.
Spear, 29, her former husband, Thomas Henry Berry, 39, and their daughter were vacationing in Venezuela when their car crashed on the highway. As they waited for a tow truck, they were attacked by armed assailants. The couple apparently resisted the robbery attempt and both were shot dead. No arrests have been made.
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Monica Spear was crowned Miss Venezuela in 2004 and participated in the 2005 Miss Universe pageant. After her retirement from beauty pageants, she starred in several popular telenovelas, the most recent of which was Pasión Prohibida in 2013. She starred in Telemundo’s Flor Salvaje in 2011, which introduced her to the U.S. Hispanic market.
Spear lived in Miami and was visiting her native Venezuela on vacation. Though divorced, she and her ex remained on good terms and were apparently vacationing together. Ironically, Spear told Huffington Post Voces several months ago that she left Venezuela over security concerns.
The tragic murder of Spear and Berry and the injury of their now-orphaned daughter have sparked outrage among Venezuelans, who claim their government isn’t doing enough to combat the country’s high crime rate. Venezuela has one of the world’s highest murder rates. Based on 2012 statistics, the rate is 45 per every 100,00 people, coming in behind only Honduras and El Salvador in Latin America. (For some perspective, the U.S. murder rate in 2012 was 4.7 per 100,000 persons.) According to news sources, violent crime in Venezuela is so prevalent that Venezuelans tend to stay home at night. Perhaps a high-profile murder such as Spears’ will prompt some action from the Venezuelan government.