The Venezuelan public prosecutor’s office said in a statement Friday, May 12, that the body of 34-year-old businessman Reinaldo Jose Herrera, nephew of fashion designer Carolina Herrera, was found the night before near Caracas. Fabrizio Mendoza, 31, Reinaldo Jose Herrera’s business partner, was also found dead in the same location. The Venezuelan public prosecutor’s office has of yet to determine the cause of death according to the Associated Press.
However, some media outlets including Daily Beast and NBC Miami are calling Reinaldo Jose Herrera’s death the result of an abduction. The Daily Beast reports that kidnappers took Reinaldo Jose Herrera from a restaurant in Caracas and were holding him and his business partner for ransom. These same reports claim that the ransom was paid, but that the kidnappers killed Reinaldo Jose Herrera and his business partner anyway. Their bodies were recovered in a truck on a highway outside the city.
Carolina Herrera, originally from Caracas, lives in New York’s Upper East Side. The Chicago History Museum’s Costume Council named her the 2017 Designer of Excellence, recognizing the work she’s done on dresses created for first ladies like Jacqueline Onassis and Michelle Obama. The award presentation is scheduled for Monday, May 15, yet, at this time, it is uncertain if the event will be rescheduled.
The Associated Press has not yet received an official statement from Herrera on the death of her nephew. However, according to The House of Herrera Instagram, the designer released a statement on May 13 with a collaged pictured of her and her nephew, denouncing the violence in Venezuela. Her message reads: “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.”