Police intensify search for abducted Miss Honduras

Police intensify search for abducted Miss Honduras

TEGUCIGALPA - Officials combed valleys and mountains Tuesday in a desperate search for the reigning Miss Honduras, Maria Jose Alvarado, who was abducted days before she was to compete in the Miss World contest.

Alvarado, 19, and her sister Sofia Trinidad disappeared on Thursday outside Honduras' northern city of Santa Barbara after a birthday party at a local resort.

"We are looking for them, intensifying our operations in the Santa Barbara department," police spokesman Jose Coello told AFP.

Coello said officers were scouring river valleys and mountains near the Guatemalan border looking for any trace of the sisters.

Alvarado had been set to fly to London on Wednesday for Miss World.

Chief prosecutor Rolando Argueta said investigators were combing through the women's cell phone communications looking for clues.

"The more time passes without concrete information, the more complicated the investigation becomes," he said.

Police say the women were last seen leaving the party in a champagne-coloured car.

Honduras, an impoverished Central American country with eight million people, ranks among the most violent nations in the world.

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