Venezuelan Actress Monica Spear Mootz and Ex-Husband Murdered

A Venezuelan actress and her ex-husband were killed in front of their young daughter during a roadside robbery near Valencia.

Monica Spear Mootz, 29, and Thomas Henry Berry, 39, were killed after their car broke down on the Puerto Cabello-Valencia Road Monday, according to Telemundo 51. They were waiting for a repair truck when they were killed.

They are survived by their 5-year-old daughter Maya, who was in the car at the time and was wounded in the gunfire but is expected to be okay.

The motive for the murder is believed to be the theft of the car. Local police are investigating the murders.

Spear starred in several telenovelas, most recently on Telemundo's "Pasion Prohibida" alongside Miami's Jencarlos Canela.

Canela mourned Spear on Twitter, saying in Spanish that he is without words, and reaching out to Spear's now-orphaned daughter, promising that she is not alone.

Miguel Varoni, who directed Spear in her last telenovela, said he was shocked when his wife told him the news of Spear's death.

“She was a beautiful crazy girl, beautiful, really pretty, pretty crazy girl. And she was an awesome actress," Varoni said.

The incident has focused attention on the increasing number of violent crimes in Venezuela. The country experienced more than 24,000 homicides in 2013. The U.S. Department of State rates the criminal threat level in Venezuela's capital Caracas as "Critical."

Mootz became Miss Venezuela in 2004. She represented Venezuela at Miss Universe 2005 in Bangkok, and finished fourth runner-up.

“Telemundo is Monica's work home,” said Telemundo executive Joshua Mintz. “Monica Spear was an American citizen, and even though that she was an American citizen, she could live here, she stayed in Venezuela, her home, and it’s very, very sad for all of us that she's not here anymore.”

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