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María José Alvarado Muñoz, Miss Honduras


The search for Miss Honduras and her sister has come to a devastating end shortly after it began.

María José Alvarado, 19, and her sister, Sofía Trinidad Alvarado Muñoz, were found dead according to reports from the BBC. The two women had been missing since Nov. 13, just days before María was supposed to fly to London for the Miss World competition.

The two were last seen were at a birthday party near their hometown of Santa Bárbara, Honduras, last Thursday. People spotted them leaving the festivities in a car without a license plate. Their family had reported them missing two days later.

According to an April U.N. report, Honduras is the "murder capital of the world," with a homicide rate of 90.4 people per 100,000. The high crime rate is almost double that of Venezuela's, which ranks second with 53.7 per 100,000.

Investigators said Tuesday they had detained two men and were questioning them with regards to the two women's disappearance. One of the men in police custody is the boyfriend of Miss Honduras' sister, Plutarco Ruiz.

María had beaten out 18 other contestants to win the Miss Honduras crown back in April. She was set to compete in the Miss World competition against women from more than 120 countries. Set in London, the competition was hosting early rounds next week with the final round taking place on Dec. 14.

The beauty pageant contestant had dreams of having a career in government, specifically as a diplomat for her home country, Honduras, according to her personal profile. When she wasn't busy as a student studying for her dream job, she also enjoyed playing volleyball and other sports.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to María and Sofía's family during this difficult time.

UPDATE: Miss World Chairman Julia Morley has released a statement regarding the tragedy:

To everyone around the world who has been touched by the awful news from Honduras this morning.

We are devastated by this terrible loss of two young women, who were so full of life. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of María José Alvarado & Sofía Trinidad at this time of grief.

We are receiving messages of condolences and support from our Miss World family across the world, who all share our sadness at such a tragedy.

We will be holding a special service with all of the Miss World contestants on Sunday, where we will be honoring the lives of María José Alvarado and Sofía Trinidad, and say prayers for them and their family.

- With Love Julia Morley, Chairman Miss World Organisation