Family Says Motive Behind Developer’s Murder in Mexico Is Unclear

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After Mexican authorities found the body of an American real estate developer, the mystery behind his disappearance and murder has become deeper — with no motive in the case and as of yet, no charge in the case.

Lane Gilbert, 46, was discovered murdered near Oaxaca, Mexico on Saturday, seven weeks after he missed an Aug. 27 meeting with a notary. The California native had been living with his partner, David Perez, in San Andreas Huayapam for nearly 20 years before his disappearance. Although kidnapping was suspected early on, no demand for ransom ever materialized. In a subsequent development, Gilbert’s SUV was found after having been in an accident with a Mexican national driving the car and holding Gilbert’s identification. (See more on the Gilbert case).

Family spokesperson Jenny Jedeikin said the man was identified as Andres Maya Martinez, who was arrested by Mexican police in Baja, California after he confessed to killing Gilbert with a machete in one of his properties in the town San Bartolo Coyotepec, eight miles outside of Oaxaca. Earlier, Martinez had been thought to be an employee of Gilbert’s but that remains unclear. (See TIME’s Top 10 unsolved crimes).

What is currently unknown is Martinez’s motive for the crime. Although he has been arrested and is being held by authorities in Oaxaca, no charges against him have been filed. Investigators however believe he may be charged with second degree murder.

Jedeikin said no one has any idea why Gilbert may have been targeted, but thinks the motive “may be revealed over time. He stole his car, he had his ID. It was a brutal event. But we just don’t know the motive yet.” (See a list of the 25 crimes of the century).

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