At the studios where some of the most popular telenovelas are created, colleagues are mourning the sudden and violent death of actress and former Miss Venezuela Monica Spear.
"She was part of our family and we are very, very upset and surprised at the same time," said Joshua Mintz, executive Vice President at Telemundo Studio in northwest Miami-Dade. "She made a very big part of career here, so personally for me it's a big loss and for the company, we are all very, very sad."
According to news reports on Venezuelan television, Spear and her ex-husband, Henry Thomas Berry, were shot to death Monday night by assailants who ambushed the family on a road in Puerto Cabello-Valencia, Venezuela.
They were awaiting a tow for their broken-down Toyota. Authorities in Venezuela believe the tires on the Toyota may have been deliberately punctured. The reports theorize the motive was robbery.
The Associated Press reports that Monday's incident follows a pattern of assaults carried out by disabling cars with obstacles placed on roadways.
Late Tuesday, five people were under arrest in connection with the incident.
The couple's 5-year-old daughter survived shots to her leg.
"I have a lot of friends and coworkers who are Venezuelan and they are talking about crime and a lot difficulties they are going through in their country," said Mintz.
Spear appears larger than life in a publicity poster for her most recent telenovela, "Pasion Prohibia," hanging in the lobby of Telemundo Studios.
In recent days, Spear posted short videos on Instagram of her adventures on vacation, including a scene of the Los Llanos grasslands, zip-lining through a tree canopy, and horseback riding.
Her daughter Maya is recovering from her gunshots wounds in a hospital in Caracas.