Mother vows to bring murdered son home from Mexico

The mother of a Kamloops man murdered in Puerto Vallarta will head to Mexico as soon as possible to bring home her son.

Carol Haughton, who lives in Knutsford, told The Daily News she heard the horrifying news Sunday from one of Jeffrey Ivans' friends.

Ivans, her son, and Gordon Kendall were shot to death outside a Puerto Vallarta condo early Sunday.

Haughton said she also saw the news coverage on a Mexican web site, including graphic pictures of the murder scene showing Ivans and Kendall on the ground in blood.

Her son has four brothers and a girlfriend. He was not married and had no children. All in the family know of the tragedy.

"We're all in shock," she said tearfully.

Haughton said she will fly to Mexico as soon as she can make arrangements, possible today or Wednesday. The family will have Ivans cremated.

"I'm going to bring my son home," she said, her voice quavering with emotion.

Haughton said she does not believe the suggestions being made by Mexican authorities that her son was involved in the drug trade. She said he lived in Kelowna until just a couple of weeks ago, and went to Mexico to work in construction.

He was a skilled heavy equipment operator and known to be a hard worker. "He was a good person. Everybody loved him, he was a great guy," she said.

She last saw her son this past May, when he visited her in Kamloops.

Haughton said she also knew Kendall, who also grew up in Kamloops. 'They grew up together," she said. "They were good friends."

She believes her son was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was going to Mexico to work in construction, she added, and expected to live there for several months. She hopes to speak with Mexican investigators to try to learn more about what happened.

"I would like to find out more," she said. "I just don't believe what they are saying."

According to a news story published on a Puerto Vallarta newspaper's Web page, Kendall and Ivans were "executed" by men looking to "settle accounts." The web page also published the graphic photographs of the blood-soaked bodies.

The circumstances of the shooting suggest both men were targeted, Mexican authorities said. The Mexican drug trade has become notoriously violent in recent years, with thousands of people killed in the past several months.

Ivans has a Canadian criminal record for drug offences. He was convicted in 2002 of possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking and fined $1,000.

Witnesses of the violence reportedly told police several gunmen were involved in the hit and that Ivans exchanged fire with the killers. A .25-calibre handgun was found beside Ivans.

Ivans was inside the condo when the shooting started and came out to see what was going on, "but his executioner overtook him," the Puerto Vallarta News reported.

The report said that while Kendall and Ivans lay wounded, one of the gunmen walked over and shot each of them "for the second time."

The gunmen fled in two vehicles - a van and a Nissan. The news report said witnesses believed the two Canadians knew the men who shot them.

Several other B.C. residents - most with links to gangs here - have been shot in Mexico over the last 14 months.

Friends of the men flooded an Internet memorial page Monday to leave condolences. The Facebook page was dedicated to the memory of Jeffrey Ronald Ivans, 37, and Gordon Kendall, who died in a storm of bullets outside their condo in Puerto Vallarta.

Friends of the men posted many messages on the Facebook site. Both Kendall and Ivans were described as "good, fun-loving friends" who were well liked by many. The site changed from an open, public page to a closed page requiring invitation and approval to view later in the day.

Nat Green, one of those who posted to the page, said he knew both men well. "They were both good people and great friends to those around them. That is what is important," Green said.

-With files from The Vancouver Sun rkoopmans@kamloopsnews.ca

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