Family members of a couple killed in front of their 12-year-old son while they were on vacation in Mexico have released more details about the grisly killings, and corrected apparent misinformation in earlier reports.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Paul Nielsen, and his wife Janet Vasquez were killed in the Guerrero state on July 18, shot execution-style by armed assailants who may have been trying to get them to stop at a checkpoint.
The New York Post reports that Vasquez’s 12-year-old son Kevin, who is Nielsen’s stepson, witnessed the killings, but relatives say he was not shot himself, as earlier reports indicated. The details of the incident have come primarily from Nielsen’s family, and CNN notes that it is unclear if the full accounting of what happened has come from the 12-year-old boy or if authorities in Mexico have briefed the family.
The CNN report also notes that Nielsen’s marriage to Vasquez was “faith-based” and not legally recognized; therefore, Vasquez was unable to legally move to the United States. According to the report, Nielsen split his time between his wife and children in Utah and his second family in Mexico.
“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 obtained by multiple news outlets. “Our dad accelerated. Kevin heard shots fired, our dad lost control of the car and it went off the road.”
The family told CNN that after Nielsen and Vasquez were shot, the assailants placed their bodies in another vehicle and drove them, with Kevin, to another location where the allegedly dropped Kevin on the side of the road with the bodies of his mother and stepfather.
“Kevin attempted to get help from passing drivers but no one paid attention until the state police arrived,” Priscilla reportedly said, according to the New York Post, which appears to cite an ABC 4 Utah story that is no longer available on the station’s website. CrimeOnline has contacted the news station for further information.
From the CNN report:
“An official for the US Department of State confirmed it was aware of reports of a US citizen’s death in Guerrero and the department was closely monitoring the investigation by local authorities. The official declined to comment further out of respect for the family.
The secretary of public safety for Guerrero referred CNN to the state attorney general’s office. CNN’s attempts to reach that office for comment this week have been unsuccessful.”
“As for the investigation, we don’t know very much about its status, but we’ve been told that both governments are working to find the killers,” the family said in a statement obtained by CNN. “This has been the most difficult moment of our lives, and it’s very important to us that we warn other people so that they don’t have to go through the same thing.”
The family also told CNN that the 12-year-old boy is “traumatized,” and he is currently living with relatives.
The family created a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds to bring Nielsen’s body back to the United States. An update on the campaign page says that the Nielsen’s body was back home as of July 25. His funeral is scheduled for August 3, according to an obituary.
This is a developing story. CrimeOnline will provide further updates when more information is available.
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