Fashion designer Carolina Herrera, whose designs have been worn by scores of celebs, is mourning the death of her nephew, who was found murdered in her native Venezuela after being taken hostage.

The bodies of Reinaldo Herrera, 34, and his business partner Fabrizio Mendoza, 31, were found handcuffed inside a Toyota truck on a highway near Caracas Thursday evening. Local media said they were shot in the head and that a group had abducted them while they ate a restaurant in the city. Authorities said the group asked their relatives for a ransom, which they paid. Reports also said the kidnappers went to Mendoza's house and trashed the place while searching for cash and valuables.

"Thank you so much for all your thoughtful messages. The family and I appreciate your kindness," Carolina, 78, who lives in New York City, said in a message posted on the House of Herrera's Instagram page Saturday. "Our only hope is that the tragic assassination of our young nephew, Reinaldo and his colleague, Fabrizio will serve to mitigate the terrible carnage and murders that are committed against our youth in Venezuela. The Electoral Results must be respected. The Communist Dictatorship must go."

Reinaldo was the son of Luis Felipe Herrera Guevara, whose brother, also named Reinaldo, is Carolina's husband.

Despite increased efforts by police to combat crime, Venezuela's homicide rates last year were the highest in the country's history, with a record 70 murders per 100,000 residents.

The nation is undergoing a undergoing an economic and social crisis and for the past few weeks, there have been violent protests against President Nicolas Maduro's socialist government. At least 39 people have died as a result of the violence since April.

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