Robbery is believed to have been the motive in the killing of a Canadian photographer and artist Friday in Yucatán.
The state Attorney General’s office said Barbara McClatchie Andrews was killed by a taxi driver whom she had contracted to drive her from the airport in Cancún to her home in Mérida.
The native of Vancouver, Canada, was returning from a trip to Canada and had advised her housekeeper she was on her way from Cancún.
Her body was found Friday by the roadside on the Cancún-Mérida highway near Hacienda Teya. Authorities said there were signs she had been beaten and strangled to death with the cord of a camera.
Investigators turned up Sunday morning in Kinchil, a town just outside Mérida, to search the home of the suspect. Neighbors told reporters that they conducted a meticulous search of the house and property “looking for something.”
Andrews, 74, was described by a longtime friend as a “fascinating and lively and vital person.” Eva Boyd of Maple Ridge, Canada, described the victim as a “blur of activity” who disliked being still and traveled to obscure parts of distant countries. She told the newspaper The Globe and Mail that Andrews was fearless.
Boyd said her friend was a vocal defender of Mexico, “and would rail against the media for its exaggerations; she would say it’s a perfectly safe place.”
Vancouver artist Rodney Clark told CBC News that Andrews will be missed for her sense of humor and vibrant, outgoing nature. He said some news reports had described her as “elderly,” a term that missed the mark.
“She was an absolute hoot. [She] just loved life. I’ve met 30-year-olds I would consider more elderly.”
Andrews opened a non-profit gallery for emerging artists in 2007 in Mérida’s historic center, which she continued to operate.
Friend and Mérida artist Carlos Duran said her death was “very strange. This is a very peaceful community. This is not an everyday event, that someone gets murdered,” he said. “We want to make sure that this crime does not go unpunished.”
Andrews leaves a son, Julian Andrews, and a brother, Sam McClatchie.