Skip to comments.Aussies Caught in Death Riddle
Posted on 06/20/2012 7:45:03 PM PDT by nickcarraway
A DREAM holiday for a young cancer survivor and five Aussie friends has turned into a nightmare after they were caught up in an international murder mystery.
Jessica Vo - one of the youngest Australians ever to beat ovarian cancer - took the South American holiday with Geelong brothers Hugh and Tom Hanlon to celebrate beating the disease.
But it all went haywire when they were implicated in the death of hotel worker Lino Rodriguez Vilchez, who fell 15 floors to his death from a balcony at the hotel where the friends were staying.
They and three others face allegations by Mr Vilchez's family aired on local Peru media that he was lifted and thrown out the window.
But the brothers and Ms Vo were returning to the building from a grocery shop when they heard screams.
Ms Vo last night said they had been told by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and their legal team not to comment.
She originally claimed the ordeal was a set-up, writing on her blog she "nearly got framed for a murder".
"We've been advised by our lawyers not to say anything," Ms Vo said. "It's the most ridiculous decision we've had to deal with."
Ms Vo and her boyfriend Hugh were holidaying in Peru for a month before being joined by Thomas for a further two months.
"I just graduated, so it was a celebration of beating cancer and starting afresh once we got back," Ms Vo said.
Mr Vilchez's family told local media the original investigation suffered political interference and forensic evidence showed there was a scuffle before his death.
His death was originally ruled suicide but a Peru police spokesman allegedly told local television there was doubt on the finding.
Tom Hanlon declined to discuss details of the case. "We are not discussing it. We really don't know what is going on," he said yesterday.
"We are talking to a lawyer but we don't know what this all means and we don't know what (Peru police) want."
The Herald Sun has been told the group - with three other Australians from NSW - arrived in Lima from Machu Picchu in mid-January and briefly saw Mr Vilchez, a doorman, as they arrived .
Peruvian police interviewed all guests.
The Australians asked for a translator but were not given one.
They found out about the accusations through a "hate" Facebook page on Monday.
It is believed Mr Vilchez was in debt and his family cannot claim insurance if his death is deemed a suicide.
Very intriguing and mysterious.
When I was there I didn’t see any Mexicans because I figured it was way too far to swim. Most of the time they make it to Catalina and then turn around.
Also, the Mexican food there is horrible.
Sounds like someone wants the dead man’s survivors to get his life insurance so murder must be implicated and not suicide.