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'Jealous' boyfriend shoots beauty queen dead

Tears and anger poured out for the dark-haired beauty who was to have flown to London this week to represent Honduras at the Miss World pageant, only to be found shot to death with her sister on a remote river bank.

After the bodies of the reigning Miss Honduras, 19-year-old Maria Jose Alvarado, and her sister Sofia (23) were discovered early in the day, police announced that the sister's boyfriend had confessed to killing them last week in a fit of jealousy over his girlfriend dancing with another man.

Dozens of relatives and friends of the beauty queen gathered for a candlelight vigil at the college she attended, remembering a down-to-earth young woman who aspired to be a diplomat, went out without makeup and worked as a model to help support a humble family.

"She was simple, humble, a total innocent smiling and without malice," said Ludin Reyes, a fellow student at the Technical University of Honduras.

The bodies believed to be the sisters were found buried near the spa where they disappeared a week earlier while celebrating the birthday of the sister's boyfriend, Plutarco Ruiz.

During the night of November 13, a heated argument broke out over the sister dancing with another man and Ruiz pulled a gun, firing first at his girlfriend and then at Alvarado as she tried to flee. Alvarado was hit twice in the back.

An uncle of the sisters said Ruiz came to the family's modest house on a dirt road the day after the young women disappeared to invite them to lunch, and returned several days to help with the search.

"We didn't file a complaint right away because we were waiting for a telephone call asking for ransom," Munoz said. "On Saturday, their mother and I went to put in a complaint and the killer was with us."

Ruiz led investigators to the gravesite where he and an alleged accomplice buried them in Santa Barbara.

Alvarado's body, wrapped in brown plastic, was loaded into the back of a pickup truck just hours before she was to have boarded a flight to London to compete in the Miss World pageant.

hnews@herald.ie


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