(KRON) – A couple from Utah visiting Mexico were fatally shot in front of their 12-year-old son after they failed to stop at a checkpoint, according to local reports.
52-year-old Paul Nielsen and his wife 43-year-old Janeth Vasquez, were on their way to a beach resort last Thursday when they reportedly failed to stop at a checkpoint in Petatlan, in the state of Guerrero, around 3:30 a.m. according to KUTV.
The couple was with their son and had been ordered to stop by a group of armed men, according to SDP Noticias.
Mexican news outlet Reforma reports the couple was “intercepted” by the armed group and “stripped” of their car before they were all shot.
Vilate Sempala, Nielsen’s younger sister, told the Salt Lake Tribune that he and his wife had encountered a roadblock on the morning of their deaths, which appeared to have been set up by a local gang to extort travelers.
Their 12-year-old son survived.
Local authorities are investigating the deaths, which has been condemned by Guerrero Gov. Hector Astudillo Flores as “reprehensible.”
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help pay for Nielsen’s family to bring his body back to Utah.