To the world, she was Miss Venezuela -- a young beauty queen and rising star. But to her family, 29-year-old Monica Spear was a daughter, sister, and mother.
"She was a very sweet girl," her father Rafael recalled, fighting back tears. "She was very, very smart. And as a mother, she cares a lot about her daughter Maya, which is now alone because her father and mother were killed in Venezuela."
Investigators say Spear and her former husband were shot and killed in front of their 5-year-old daughter Monday night during a robbery after their car broke down near Puerto Cabello, Venezuela's main port.
Her father learned of the tragedy while watching a Venezuelan news station from his Orlando home.
"One of the first news that I learned there was, something happened to Monica and she was killed," he told FOX on Tuesday. "That was this morning and it was a very disgraced moment for all of us."
Monica and her family moved to Orlando from Venezuela in 2000. She graduated from UCF in 2004 and was crowned Miss Venezuela that same year.
She then traveled the world, acting and working while keeping her home base in Caracas.
Now, her parents and brother say their focus is bringing Spear's daughter Maya to the U.S. and getting justice for Monica.
"What I'm hoping is that the people who commit this crime pay for it," Rafael continued. "There is no way for us to recover from this loss."
Five people are now under arrest in connection with the murders, FOX News reports.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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