Monica Spear, Miss Venezuela 2005, poses for a portrait ahead of the Miss Universe competition in Bangkok, Thailand.(Photo: Darren Decker, Miss Universe via AP)
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - Assailants shot and killed a popular
soap-opera actress and former Miss Venezuela and her Irish ex-husband in
the presence of their 5-year-old daughter when they resisted a robbery,
authorities said Tuesday.
Monica Spear, 29, and Henry Thomas
Berry, 39, were slain late Monday night on a roadside near Puerto
Cabello, Venezuela's main port, after their car broke down, the
prosecutor's office said in a statement.
It said their daughter
was in stable condition after getting medical attention for unspecified
injuries. Local media reports said the couple had a good relationship
despite being divorced and were awaiting a tow truck when attacked.
has one of the world's highest murder rates and violent crime is so
rampant that Venezuelans tend to stay home after dark. Spear's death
triggered a wave of anger on social media directed at the populist
government's poor record on crime.
According to the nonprofit
Venezuelan Observatory of Violence, the oil-rich South American
country's murder rate was 79 per 100,000 inhabitants last year.
Government statistics put the rate lower.
Spear was crowned Miss
Venezuela in 2004 and had acted in numerous soap operas for the
U.S.-based Telemundo network, most recently Pasion Prohibida.
She split her time between Venezuela and the United States and was on vacation when slain.
had more than 355,000 followers on Twitter and her feed over the last
week included brief videos sent on the popular Instagram service of
In one video, posted two days ago and described
as being taken on the plains of Apure state, Spear looks at the camera
while riding a horse, turns away and then looks back, blowing a kiss.