Los Angeles, AAP – A senior Mexican government official has confirmed a burnt out van with two charred bodies inside was the vehicle driven by missing Australian surfers Dean Lucas and Adam Coleman.
Marco Antonio Higuera Gomez, Sinaloa’s Attorney-General, announced on Monday the old Chevy van’s registration number matched the vehicle Mr Lucas and Mr Coleman bought in Canada, according to Mexico’s Excelsior news site.
Canadian officials confirmed the match, Mr Gomez said.
DNA testing on the two charred bodies found inside the van is continuing.
It is feared Mr Lucas and Mr Coleman, who had been living in Edmonton, Canada, and drove the van to Mexico for a surfing safari, were preyed on in violence-riddled Sinaloa state where murders, violent robberies and kidnappings are common.
DNA from one of Lucas’ distinct dreadlocks and other personal items belonging to the men, as well as dental records, will be used to determine if the bodies are the Australians.
The men planned to drive from the coastal port town of Topolobampo to Mr Coleman’s Mexican girlfriend’s home in Guadalajara on November 20, but did not arrive.
Mr Coleman had given his girlfriend, Andrea Gomez, a dreadlock during a previous visit and that was being used to identify him.
Mr Lucas’ girlfriend, Josie Cox, has flown from Edmonton to Mexico with his personal items to help with the DNA tests, while the families of both men will fly from their homes in Western Australia to Mexico.
A gofundme.com fundraising page has raised more than $40,000 in just one day to help with the families’ travel costs.
The route between Topolobampo and Guadalajara is considered treacherous and home to the Sinaloa Cartel, deemed by US authorities as the most powerful organised crime group in the world.