Carolina’s Herrera’s nephew, Reinaldo Herrera, was enjoying dinner in Venezuela with a business associate when a crime gang kidnapped the men and then murdered them.
Reinaldo Herrera and his friend were slain even though a ransom demand was paid, according to TMZ.
Reinaldo is related to the famed fashion designer through her husband of the same name. Carolina Herrera has called the murder a “tragic assassination” and has criticized the Venezuelan dictatorship in her home country.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Reinaldo & a Friend Were Found Dead in a Truck Outside Caracas
Even though a ransom demand was met, the kidnappers killed Reinaldo, 34, and his 31-year-old friend, Fabrizio Mendoza, according to The New York Daily News.
According to El Correo Del Orinoco, “As part of the payment, the relatives of the victims would have delivered watches and cash to a motorist who went to the house to collect.”
The victims’ bodies were later found “in a truck on a highway outside the city,” The Daily News reported. NBC Miami reports that the bodies were found “on a highway connecting Caracas to the city of La Guaira.”
2. The Men Were Abducted as They Dined in a Venezuelan Restaurant
Reinaldo Herrera and Mendoza were enjoying a casual dinner, when a gang of men kidnapped them. El Correo reported that they were “abducted in La Boyera after leaving the Rey David restaurant” and described Herrera as an entrepreneur.
The abduction occurred on May 11, “when a group took them hostage and attempted to ransom them,” reports the Daily News.
TMZ reports that Mendoza was Reinaldo’s business partner. According to Vanidades, a Spanish-language publication, Herrera’s “body was located next to the one of Fabrizio Mendoza, a businessman and architect.”
Residents told the Bolivian National Guard of “finding two bodies in a Toyota pickup truck, model Hilux, color White,” reports Vanidades.
3. Reinaldo Was Carolina Herrera’s Nephew Through Marriage & the Designer Labeled it a ‘Tragic Assassination’
Reinaldo is linked to Carolina Herrera through her husband, also named Reinaldo Herrera, reports NBC Miami.
The nephew was the son of Luis Felipe Herrera Guevara, who is the brother of the famed designer’s spouse, according to the Miami television station.
On Facebook, Carolina called the murder an “assassination” and linked it to Venezuela’s political system.
“Thank you so much for all your thoughtful messages,” she wrote. “The family and I appreciate your kindness. Our only hope is that the tragic assassination of our young nephew, Reinaldo and his colleague, Fabrizio will serve to mitigate the terrible carnage and murders that are committed against our youth in Venezuela. The Electoral Results must be respected. The Communist Dictatorship must go.”
4. Carolina Herrera Is From Venezuela but Lives in New York
The fashion designer, known for dressing First Ladies, is originally from Venezuela. However, in recent years, she has decamped to New York, reports TMZ and The Daily News.
TMZ reports she was scheduled to receive the 2017 Designer of Excellence award in Chicago on May 15, and it’s not clear whether the tragedy will result in that award ceremony being cancelled.
According to the Encyclopedia of Fashion, Carolina Herrera married Reinaldo Herrera in 1957; they have four children: Mercedes, Ana Luisa, Carolina, Patricia. Her first fashion collection launched in 1981.
The encyclopedia says of her designs that they represent the “quintessential woman of the 1980s who has consummate style and taste as well as an active lifestyle.”
5. Venezuela Is Struggling With Soaring Murder Rates
Venezuela is registering record murder rates over the past year.
“Homicides in Venezuela reached a rate of 70.1 per 100,000 inhabitants, a figure that considerably exceeds the record of 58 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2015,” reports NBC Miami.
According to the U.S. State Department, “Venezuela remains one of the deadliest countries in the world with increasing violence and criminal activity in 2016, at times reaching unprecedented levels. The government of Venezuela often attempts to refute claims of increasing crime and murder rates; however, their claims are widely rejected by independent observers.”
The State Department listed “Caracas as the most violent city in the world in 2016.”
Kidnappings are on the rise. “The number of recorded kidnappings in Venezuela has increased by 88 percent over the last year,” reported Insight Crime in 2016.