Authorities Are Investigating The Tragic Death Of A Couple In Front Of Their Son While On Vacation In Guerrero
New grisly details have emerged out about the murders of a Utah couple that left their 12-year-old son injured on the side of a road in Mexico. Paul Nielsen, 52, and his wife Janet Vázquez, 44, were traveling through the state of Guerrero early in the morning on July 18 on their way to a vacation they had planned in Zihuatanejo, a popular tourist spot. But some point on their way there, the couple was attacked, shot, and killed. Their son, Kevin, was in the car with them, but CNN says he was not shot.
Many are looking for answers and wondering how this could have happened.
According to a family statement, the couple was being followed by three vehicles and shortly after they were being chased after. When Vasquez realized they were in danger, she shouted and Nielsen accelerated the vehicle with the assailants opening fire on them. Nielsen would lose control of his car and crashed on the side of the road. The attackers would pulled him and his family out of the car, robbed them and placed them in another vehicle.
“They were driving on the highway when three vehicles began chasing them and Kevin said that his mother shouted that they were going to assault them,” Nielsen’s daughter, Priscilla, said in a statement to the New York Post. “Our dad accelerated. Kevin heard shots fired, our dad lost control of the car and it went off the road.”
While it’s still unclear at what point Nielsen and Vazquez were killed, a statement explained that the couple was driven to another area where their bodies were dumped on the side of the road.
“Our family is absolutely devastated over the loss of our dad,” Nielsen’s family said in a statement, adding they received a call notifying them of his death back in July 18. “We were very close to him. His family was his world, and he wasn’t just our father, he was one of our best friends.”
Now investigators hope that the couples son, Kevin, might have some answers that will lead to finding potential suspects.
Their 12-year-old son is still “very traumatized” by the events and is still trying to recount all of the events that happened that day. Kevin was reportedly left on the side of the road, injured, and tried to flag down passing motorists but didn’t receive help until state police arrived.
The U.S. Department of State said in a statement on Tuesday that the agency was “aware of reports of the death of an American citizen in Guerrero, Mexico,” but have yet to identify Nielsen or Vasquez by name.
“The State Department has an active travel advisory for certain areas of Mexico, including the state our dad was planning on driving through,” the family said in a statement. “Though he was usually a careful person, he must not have seen that advisory and that ignorance had tragic results that will affect all of us for the rest of our lives.”
Nielsen split time between the U.S and Mexico as Vasquez was his second wife.
Vasquez and Kevin both lived in Mexico and Nielsen spent time traveling between Utah and Mexico to see his family. According to CNN, the couple had a faith-based marriage. Their marriage was not legally recognized so immigration rights weren’t an option. This led to Nielsen splitting his time between Utah and Mexico to see Vasquez and his son.
“Immigration was not a reasonable option so our dad split his time between Mexico and Utah,” Nielsen’s family said in a statement. “Our dad was the only member of the family, either in Utah or Mexico, who was bilingual, but despite that Kevin always had a soft spot for my little sister, who’s 7.”
As more details come are revealed we can only hope for the best for the family. Nielsen’s funeral is scheduled for Saturday in South Jordan, Utah.
“He loved people and though he sometimes came across as shy in public, those who knew him well saw a warm, playful and intelligent man. He loved riddles, and we often discussed problems and ideas together over the dinner table. He touched so many lives and has many friends and loved ones that are struggling with his loss.”