A tragedy in Baja California: three surfers found dead

ENSENADA PROTESTS: Locals and tourists protest the unjust murders of three surfers and plead for safety. (OurQuadCities)

Carly Altman | Writer

May 9, 2024

On April 27, surfers Jack Carter Rhoad, Jake Robinson, and Callum Robinson disappeared south of Ensenada, a popular surf spot in Baja California, Mexico. This past Saturday, the three friends were found in a deep well, each with a bullet in their head.

THE VICTIMS: Callum Robinson, Jake Robinson, and Jack Carter Rhoad. (People)

With an abandoned campsite tainted by blood and signs of distress, it is clear that these deaths were no accident. While it has yet to be confirmed, many including Baja California’s state prosecutor believe that these murders were a part of a robbery scheme. They theorize that the attackers sought to steal the surfers’ truck and its parts, yet were met with resistance which ultimately resulted in the murders. To dispose of the bodies and avoid guilt, they left the three men in a remote, 15-meter-deep covered well.

Stories like these resonate deeply with the people of Southern California with such a heartbreaking display of violence so close to home. My own brother, an avid surfer himself, was near this same region just a week prior to this tragedy. I wonder, if the timing had been ever so slightly different, if it could have been his body found in that well instead.

“It is so upsetting to hear about events like this happening so close to where we live,” explained junior Isabella Noble. “It could have just as easily been someone I knew; a friend, a sister, a brother.”

These three men had their lives ripped away from them at an age far too young, and these events have called into question the safety of Ensenada for not only tourists, but for locals as well. While stigmas regarding safety beyond the border have existed long before these events, these murders will only heighten uncertainty about security and the likelihood of danger.

“These murders have definitely instilled a sense of fear surrounding the area,” described junior Lauren Rosen. “People are worried for their safety; they don’t want to be subject to the same fate as these innocent men.”

Both tourists and locals alike have taken to the streets of Ensenada, recognizing the lives of the surfers and protesting for the promise of safety. Protestors have marched down the streets, carrying signs and surfboards with messages pleading for a safe Ensenada and honoring the lives of those subject to violence in the region. As a result of these tragedies, Baja California’s lack of safety has been brought to the forefront, and movements such as these instill a sense of hope for change.

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