Carolina Herrera‘s 34-year-old nephew was found dead outside of the capital of Venezuela, according to multiple reports, and now the designer is paying tribute.
The body of 34-year-old Reinaldo Jose Herrera was reportedly found along with the remains of a second man Thursday night on the highway, according to a statement from the public prosecutor’s office on Friday cited by Page Six.
NBC 6 South Florida reported that Herrera’s nephew was dining with 31-year-old Fabrizio Mendoza, his business partner, at a restaurant in Caracas on Thursday when they were both allegedly abducted by a gang of criminals.
The gang then allegedly asked for a ransom for the two men, and despite the ransom money being allegedly paid, both men were found dead later that night, the report said, according to Page Six.
Opposition leader Roland Carreño told the AP that Herrera was the nephew of the Venezuelan-American fashion designer.
The Venezuelan-born designer, 78, confirmed that her nephew had been killed and posted a tribute to him on Instagram, featuring a black-and-white split image of herself with her nephew.
“Thank you so much for all your thoughtful messages. The family and I appreciate your kindness. 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. -Carolina Herrera,” she wrote on Saturday.
Venezuela has among the highest murder rates in the world, according to the AP. The country has been plagued by an economic crisis over the past year, with intense inflation driving up food prices to astronomical amounts, leaving many without food or basic medical care, according to Reuters. In the past two months, protesters have taken to the streets to call for President Nicolás Maduro to step down. The protests have turned deadly over the past month, and Maduro has caught criticism from the international community for his treatment and prosecution of demonstrators, according to the New York Times.
Herrera’s rep has not responded to a request for comment.