Miss Venezuela Mónica Spear killed in highway shooting

Jan 7, 2014 at 5:21 p.m. ET

Former Miss Venezuela and actress Mónica Spear was shot and killed during a highway robbery in Caracas.

Monica Spear

Venezuelan beauty queen Mónica Spears was killed during an attempted highway robbery in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, Jan. 6.

The former Miss Venezuela 2004 was riding in a car with her ex-husband, Henry Thomas Berry, 39, and their 5-year-old daughter, Maya, when it broke down on the Puerto Cabello-Valencia highway. Armed men snuck up on the vehicle and began shooting after the family locked themselves in the car, E! News reported. The thugs shot and killed Spears and Thomas, while their small daughter got shot in the leg and luckily survived the attack.

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Spear, 29, was living in Miami, but took a trip with her daughter and ex-husband and was documenting it on Instagram.

The pageant winner went on to become a soap opera star and appeared in popular Spanish novelas including Flor Salvaje and most recently, Pasión Prohibida. Her co-star, Jencarlos Canela, took to Twitter to express his sadness at Spears' tragic passing.

"I'm without words. I will miss my friend @MonicaSpear," the actor wrote in Spanish. "And my beautiful Maya, I love you. You are not alone!"

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Just a day earlier, Spear posted a beautiful video of the Venezuelan planes she and her family had visited, while a few days earlier she posted another clip of herself riding on horseback. The beautiful actress was apparently in Venezuela to ring in the New Year, despite the increasing violence in that country.

In 2013 alone Venezuela suffered more than 24,000 homicides with the criminal threat level in Caracas labeled as "critical," E! News claimed. The dangerous city is known for its high number of murders, kidnappings and robberies that happen at all times of day and night.

Photo credit: Gustavo Caballero/Getty