The father-in-law and brother-in-law of Breaux Bridge native and former Miss USA Ali Landry were found dead in the Mexican state of Veracruz on Saturday after they’d been kidnapped while leaving their home in nearby Tamaulipas a couple of weeks earlier, authorities said.
Juan Manuel Gómez Fernández and his son, Juan Manuel Gómez Monteverde, each sustained traumatic brain injuries. Both had been dead for several days when they were discovered, the state Attorney General’s Office of Veracruz said in a news release.
News reports identified Gómez Fernández and Gómez Monteverde as the father and brother of filmmaker Alejandro Gómez Monteverde, 38, who directed “Bella” as well as “Little Boy” and is married to Landry, Miss USA in 1996.
The two men were kidnapped Sept. 4 in Tampico, Tamaulipas, authorities said. Their bodies were then found 16 days later in a sparsely populated area known as “El Chachalaco” in the municipality of Pueblo Viejo in Veracruz.
Family members of the two victims identified the bodies.
Authorities found a car nearby that they suspect was used by whoever kidnapped Landry’s family members. It had a license plate from Tamaulipas and was undergoing forensic testing, authorities said.
The Veracruz Attorney General’s Office said it was working with its counterpart in Tamaulipas to investigate the deaths.
In Mexico, it is not uncommon for either celebrities or their relatives to be targeted by kidnappers seeking to collect a ransom. While the Veracruz Attorney General’s Office said Landry’s husband’s relatives were kidnapped, the agency did not discuss a possible motive in their deaths.
Media reports said a ransom was paid for Gómez Fernández and Gómez Monteverde, but the victims were not freed by their kidnappers.
After being crowned Miss USA, Landry became known as the “Doritos girl” after starring in a famous Super Bowl ad. She since has worked as a model and has appeared on TV shows and in movies, including her husband’s “Little Boy.”
Landry, 42, recently appeared in a TV ad in support of Republican Scott Angelle in this year’s governor’s race.
Gena Landry Purpera, of Lafayette, a sister to Ali Landry, said Wednesday the family did not have a comment on the deaths and would not immediately issue a statement.
Staff writer Billy Gunn contributed to this report.