Two of the three young women found with their throats slit in an Ecuadorian ditch sent ominous text messages to loved ones implying they were in danger just hours before they went missing.
Denisse Reyna, 19, reportedly sent a message to a friend saying “I sense something is about to happen,” while 22-year-old Nayeli Tapia began sharing her location with her sister “just in case,” just after 11 p.m. on April 4. along with their friend Yuliana Macias, 21, were never heard from again.
Their bodies were later buried in a shallow grave not far from the location Tapia shared, according to the Ecuadorian outlet Vistazo.
The women were discovered by a fisherman who saw a dog sniffing the ground along a riverbank near Quininde. Their bodies were all tied up, their throats slit and their mouths covered, and authorities suspected they had been tortured before being killed.
They had left their homes in Santo Domingo de los Tsachilas – more than 50 miles from where they were found – after going to the beach the day they went missing.
The women killed were identified as (L-R) Yuliana Macias, Denisse Reyna and Nayeli Tapia
Denisse Reyna, 19, (left) and Nayeli Tapia, 22, (right) both sent ominous text messages to loved ones saying they believed they were in danger the day they went missing in Ecuador
Friends told Vistazo that Tapia had shared her location with her sister and sent her a WhatsApp message that translated to “I’m sending you just in case.”
That same day, Reyna reportedly texted a friend that translated to “I feel something is about to happen and if something happens to me, remember I love you very much.”
After the women failed to return home and lose contact after their day at the beach on April 4, their families reported them missing.
Preliminary research suggests that the women were murdered on April 5 in the rural town of Malimpia, Quininde parish.
Investigators reportedly identified the rental car that allegedly drove the young women to the crime scene.
Next to the bodies, police officers found a mobile phone, which they hope to use to solve the case.
The police are desperate to find those responsible for carrying out the gruesome murders.
Diego Velastegui of Quininde police told local media: “They were young, had beachwear, bathing suits, bright clothes, shorts.”
The gruesome discovery was made by some fishermen who saw a dog sniffing the ground
The women’s bodies were uncovered along the Esmeraldas River near Quininde, Ecuador
The county where the women were discovered has been in a state of emergency since early March due to violence stemming from a terror war against drug trafficking, the New York Post reported.
Relatives of the women, however, have maintained that the victims had nothing to do with cartels.
Yuliana’s aunt, Paulina Rued, told media outlet Noticias Noroccidente that the murders should not be associated with drug trafficking, saying “I ask the public not to accuse people who have nothing to do with it.”
“All we want is justice, and if the public knows, they should report who is responsible for this horrible murder, because it’s three murders in one day,” she said.
Paulina told local media that she and other family members have received threats for demanding justice.
“I will hold out until the last consequences, despite the fact that my life has been in danger since yesterday,” she said.
The victims, aged between 19 and 22, have been named as Nayeli Tapia (right), Denisse Reyna (left) and Yuliana Macias
Local media reported that this was Yuliana’s last video – in which she sang at a restaurant table with some friends
The victims were buried over the Easter weekend. Footage shared online showed Yuliana’s funeral, where she lay in a closed coffin surrounded by floral tributes. She is believed to be buried in the Santo Domingo Drivers Union.
Yuliana was a singer who performed under the name Siria.
Since then, heartbreaking images have surfaced on social media of Yuliana singing with friends at a table restaurant before she went missing. Local media in Ecuador reported that these are the last images of her life.
Nayeli grew up in Santo Domingo de los Tsachilas but lived in Quito. She worked as a model.
Denisse studied Agricultural Engineering at Quevedo State Technical University.