National Security

California Student Killed In Mexican Border State

(Photo by ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP via Getty Images)

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Jennie Taer Investigative Reporter
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A University of California at Berkeley Ph.D. student went to Mexico for research and was killed in a state near the U.S. border, according to The Associated Press.

While studying a native plant in the region, Gabriel Trujillo, 31, was shot seven times, his father, Anthony Trujillo, told the AP. Trujillo drove from Arizona across the border into the Mexican state of Sonora June 17 and authorities found his body June 22 in his SUV roughly 60 miles from his Airbnb. (RELATED: Four Mexican Nationals Arrested In Connection With Mass Casualty Migrant Smuggling Incident That Left 53 Dead)

“Evidently he was in the wrong place,” Anthony Trujillo told the AP on Thursday as he left the county with his son’s remains.

The details relating to the cause of Trujillo’s death are still unknow, according to the AP.

Trujillo’s fiancée, Roxanne Cruz-de Hoyos, hadn’t heard from Trujillo after speaking with him during the initial days of his trip. She flew down to the area when she lost contact.

“Gabe was a passionate ecologist, field biologist, and advocate for diverse voices in science,” the university’s Department of Integrative Biology wrote in an email. “We all face a world that is less bright for this loss.”

The State Department warns Americans against traveling to Sonora “due to crime and kidnapping.”

“Sonora is a key location used by the international drug trade and human trafficking networks. Violent crime is widespread. U.S. citizens and LPRs [Legal Permanent Residents] have been victims of kidnapping,” the State Department says.

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