By MAMAMIA TEAM
For most of us, a spontaneous trip to the South American country of Peru would be welcome.
But for these six young Australians, going to Peru is an order and not a choice.
Eighteen months ago, Sydney’s Sam Smith, Harrison Geier, Andrew Pilat, and Melbourne’s Jessica Vo, Hugh and Tom Hanlon were on the holiday of a lifetime, travelling around South America.
After a few days hiking in the Peruvian Andes, the group – who are now known as the ‘Peru Six’ – returned to the Peruvian capital of Lima and decided to treat themselves to a nights in a two-bedroom hotel room.
And that’s where all the chaos began.
The group checked into the hotel at around midday. Later that afternoon they went down the street to buy groceries. When they returned at 3pm, they were relaxing in different areas of the room when they heard a thud.
Looking out of the balcony window, they saw a body on the ground.
The body was that of Rodriguez Vilchez – the hotel’s 45-year-old doorman. Early reports suggested Vilchez committed suicide from the hotel’s rooftop.Earlier this week, the group of six spoke to the ABC’s 7:30 program. Jessica Vo – the only female in the group – told reporter Adam Harvey that the groups interview with police was the first indication that something wasn’t right.
“The following day we had a visit from the last police officer who came in and we were supposed to be providing our official statements. At that time we felt a little bit uneasy because he was questioning if we knew anything more, which obviously we didn’t, and that’s when alarm bells started ringing,” Vo told the ABC.
The group left Peru the following day after contacting the Australian Embassy to report their concerns. They continued their travels but months later – when they had arrived back in Australia – they realised that the ordeal wasn’t over.