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Authorities Connect Dating App to a String of American Tourist Deaths in Colombia

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Source: Urban GreenUP

The Colombian city of Medellin, renowned for its vibrant culture and picturesque landscapes, has recently been plagued by a devastating trend — American tourists being murdered after connecting with individuals on dating apps. This disturbing revelation has prompted the U.S. Embassy in Colombia to address the alarming rise in such homicides, shedding light on the recent happenings.

Medellin: A Vibrant Tourist Haven

Medellin, Colombia, captivates visitors with its colorful depiction of street art, delectable cuisine, and breathtaking skyline. Over the years, it has emerged as one of Colombia’s most sought-after destinations, attracting 1.4 million visitors in 2022 alone.

Source: DirtBag

Despite its tumultuous past, marked by the notorious reign of drug lord Pablo Escobar, Medellin has undergone a remarkable transformation, evolving into a safer haven for residents and tourists alike.

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A Sinister Gang Unveiled

Recent revelations from the U.S. Embassy in Colombia through the U.S. State Department show that a gang operating within Medellin’s confines, preying on victims through dating apps to abduct, extort, and murder people.

Source: National Geographic

While the Embassy has yet to confirm a direct link to the string of eight homicides, suspicions, and patterns point to this same gang. 

The Heartbreaking Tale of Tou Ger Xiong

Tou Ger Xiong was an American comedian from Minnesota who was found murdered in Medellin at 50 years old in December.

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Source: New York Post

Tou Ger Xiong’s love for Colombia was undeniable. His friends and family reported that he had learned some Spanish and specifically noted how “high-spirited” and friendly Colombians are.

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Tou Ger Xiong’s Tragic Story

On his most recent trip, Xiong told his brother Eh that he had been speaking to a woman online, though he didn’t mention a specific dating site. But, of course, Eh didn’t think anything of his brother’s dating life.

Source: New York Post

However, Eh thought it strange when his brother called and asked for $2,000 without explaining what it was for. The next day, when Tou Ger’s body was found, Eh was told that his brother was likely held at gunpoint and forced to hand over the money. The cryptic plea for financial assistance, followed by his untimely demise, paints a scary picture of coercion. 

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A Disturbing Pattern Unfolds

Xiong’s death is but one in a grim narrative that saw 40 foreign visitors meeting their untimely ends in 2023 alone. Each victim weirdly shares a similar detail — lured into dangerous situations by their Colombian dates, only to meet a grim demise.

Source: Lipstick Alley

Names like Johnny Jerome, Phillip Mullins, and Jeff Hewettand were apparently “drugged, robbed, and even killed by their Colombian dates,” explained the U.S. Embassy.

U.S. Embassy Sounds the Alarm

In a bid to reduce the deaths of its citizens, the U.S. Embassy has issued a stark warning to travelers, urging vigilance and caution. While it cannot be expressly proven that these criminals are using dating apps to murder foreigners, the Embassy emphasizes the need for heightened awareness and preventive measures.

Source: The National Museum of American Diplomacy

Visitors are implored to exercise utmost discretion and prudence as the specter of online deception looms. In a statement released on January 10, 2024, the Embassy wrote, “Several of the deaths point to possible drugging, robbery, and overdose, and several involve the use of online dating applications.”

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How Do They Kill Through Dating Apps?

The U.S. Embassy continued, explaining, “Criminals use dating apps to lure victims to meet in public places such as hotels, restaurants, and bars, and then later assault and rob them.”

Source: Yahoo Sports

The statement then instructed those visiting Colombia, specifically cities such as Medellin and Bogota. The Embassy added: “Be cautious if using online dating apps in Colombia … strongly consider meeting only in public places and avoiding isolated locations, such as residences or hotel rooms.” Always tell friends and family about any plans.

Medellin’s Authority Responds

While Medellin’s Police Authorities have not responded publicly, efforts are underway to bolster security measures and enhance vigilance. Mayor Federico Gutierrez’s commitment to safeguarding tourists shows the city’s determination to reclaim its reputation as a haven for travelers.

Source: RCN Radio

However, he also noted that those who planned to visit Medellin for sex and drugs were not welcome and that he intends to focus his energy on cleaning up the city as a whole.

A Global Wake-Up Call

As online interactions become increasingly commonplace, the need for vigilance and caution has never been more pressing.

Source: West Bank

Whether in Medellin or elsewhere, the importance of exercising prudence and discretion cannot be overstated — a sobering truth in an increasingly dangerous world.

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