Gabriel Trujillo, a 31-year-old graduate student and botanist from the University of California, Berkeley, was tragically found dead in his SUV in the Mexican state of Sonora. Trujillo had been reported missing by his fiancée while he was on a field research trip to study plants in Mexico.
On June 19, Trujillo, who was pursuing his Ph.D., was shot seven times. His body was discovered three days later. Prior to his disappearance, he had driven from Arizona and crossed the border into Nogales on June 17.
Trujillo had informed his fiancée, Roxanne Cruz de Hoyos, that he would be collecting plants and returning to his Airbnb.
When neither his fiancée nor the Airbnb host heard from him, Cruz de Hoyos traveled to Mexico to aid in the search for Trujillo. Unfortunately, on June 22, his body was found inside an SUV, located 62 miles away from the Airbnb.
Trujillo’s family had strongly advised him against visiting Sonora due to its high levels of drug trafficking, which had resulted in the deaths of at least 518 people up until May of that year. Despite the risks, Trujillo believed the trip was crucial for his research.
Currently, an ongoing investigation is being conducted, and the U.S. State Department has issued a warning to Americans regarding travel to Sonora, citing concerns of crime and kidnapping.