Alleged killer of Australian, US surfers to be prosecuted

State prosecutors search the camping site of two Australians and an American murdered during a surfing trip to Mexico (Guillermo Arias)
State prosecutors search the camping site of two Australians and an American murdered during a surfing trip to Mexico (Guillermo Arias)

A Mexican court on Wednesday ordered the alleged murderer of two Australians and an American killed during a surfing trip to be prosecuted, as grieving relatives awaited the repatriation of their bodies.

It followed a hearing held for Jesus Gerardo "N" -- alias "El Kekas" -- in Ensenada, Baja California, where the bodies of brothers Callum and Jake Robinson, and their friend Jack Carter Rhoad, were found last Friday.

The suspect will be prosecuted for the crime of "disappearance committed by private individuals," and homicide charges are expected to be filed later, the state prosecutor's office said.

The trio had been camping in a remote beachside area when they were killed in what investigators believe was an attempt to steal their pickup truck.

Their bodies were found in a cliff-top shaft with bullet wounds to the head.

The prosecution has said it is gathering evidence to charge two other suspects, who remain in detention for alleged possession of methamphetamine.

Baja California, located just south of California, is popular with US tourists thanks to its inviting beaches.

It is also one of Mexico's most violent states because of organized crime gangs, although tourists are not usually targeted.

On Tuesday, the forensic service delivered the victims' bodies to a funeral home in Baja California that will transfer them to the United States, where the families are waiting for them.

The parents of the two Australian brothers urged well-wishers to use their memory as an inspiration to "live bigger, shine brighter and love harder."

Speaking from California, Debra and Martin Robinson said that "the world has become a darker place" since the deaths.

Martin thanked friends and family in Australia and the United States who have offered "overwhelming support" since the men went missing.

With the ocean at their backs, mother Debra then struggled to read through prepared remarks.

"It is with heavy hearts that we share the news that Callum and Jake have been murdered," she began, her voice cracking with emotion. "Our hearts are broken and the world has become a darker place for us."

She described Callum, aged 33, as a "lovable, larger-than-life character" who played professional lacrosse in the United States, where he became known as "the big koala."

Jake, aged 30, was described as a "happy, gentle and compassionate soul, who was pursuing a career in medicine" and had a keen love for surfing and cricket.

"They were young men enjoying their passion of surfing together," Debra said. "Now it is time to bring them home to family and friends and the ocean waves in Australia."