Ex-beauty queen shot dead
GUNMEN killed a former Miss Venezuela and her British- born partner in front of their young daughter in an attack that shocked the crime-plagued nation, the authorities said on Tuesday.
Ms Monica Spear, a 29-year-old soap-opera star, and Mr Thomas Henry Berry, 39, were killed in what appears to have been a botched robbery on a highway in north-western Venezuela late on Monday, police and prosecutors said.
Their daughter, five-year-old Maya Berry Spear, was wounded in the right leg, but was stable after receiving medical treatment after a crime that put a harsh spotlight on Venezuela's soaring homicide rate.
Five people have been detained and were interrogated in connection with the killings, Interior Minister Miguel Rodriguez said.
The family was driving on a highway when their car hit a blunt object that had been placed on the road, forcing them to pull over, said forensic-police director Jose Gregorio Sierralta.
Ms Spear waved down a tow truck, which stopped to help. But as the two truck workers operated the crane, five armed men emerged on the road.
The truck's operators fled to a nearby police station while the family locked themselves in their car. But "the criminals fired multiple shots at the vehicle" before fleeing without stealing anything, Mr Sierralta said.
Ms Spear was a quarter-finalist in the 2005 Miss Universe contest. The dark-haired actress, who lived in Miami, was on holiday in her native Venezuela.